Greek Revival Architecture

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Manchester, Greek Revival

Manchester was to the fore in adopting the classicalGlossary Term architecture of Greece, as opposed to Rome, for public buildings. The appreciation of Greek architecture had grown during the later C18, as more adventurous travellers, including many architects, began to include Greece and Asia Minor (modern Turkey) as part of the Grand Tour. Those without the means to travel could consult published architectural surveys, notably James Stuart and Nicholas Revett's four-volume The Antiquities of Athens (1762-1816). The early C19 saw the erection in Manchester of three distinguished Greek Buildings by Thomas Harrison, 1802-6, the Theatre Royal, 1803 and the Exchange building. The popularity of the style was confirmed by its use for Manchester's first town hall of 1819-34 by Francis Goodwin, an outwardly manginficent building which used the IonicGlossary Term orderGlossary Term of the Erectheum in Athens.

Charles Barry and Charles Cockerell were among the architects who visted Greece; Barry's Royal Manchester Institution (now City Art GalleryGlossary Term) and Cockerell's Branch Bank of England are both strongly personal interpretations inspired by Greek ideas. Richard Lane's Friends Meeting House and Chorlton-on-Medlock Town Hall and Dispensary are more typical of the style as generally practised in early 19th century Britain.



A term used for the architecture of Ancient Greece and Rome, revived at the Renaissance and subsequently imitated around the Western world. It uses a range of conventional forms, the roots of which are the orders, or types of column each with its fixed proportions and ornaments (especially Doric, Ionic and Corinthian). Classical buildings tend also to be symmetrical, both externally and on plan. Classical architecture in England began c. 1530 with applied ornamental motifs, followed within a few decades by fully-fledged new buildings.


A long room or passage; an upper storey above the aisles of a church, looking through arches to the nave; a balcony or mezzanine overlooking the main interior space of a building; or an external walkway.


One of the orders of classical architecture, distinguished in particular by downward- and inward-curling spirals (called volutes) on the capital of the column.


One of a series of recessed arches and jambs forming a splayed medieval opening, e.g. a doorway or arcade arch. Also, an upright structural member used in series, especially in classical architecture: see Orders.