Albert Square

Dominated by Waterhouse's Town Hall Albert Square today is a wide pedestrian plaza that is home to a number of important monuments. 

When I was a child the Albert Memorial was located on an island and traffic passed directly in front of the town hall.  You can see that in these old postcards.

Today it is much more of a people place and often a venue for important meetings and events.  At Christmas a large German Market occupied the square.

Mount Street enters the square from the south and on the corner is St Andrews Chambers built for the Scottish Widows Fund Life Assurance Company.

Next door is Carlton House built in 1872 by Clegg and Knowles

On the corner of Southmill Street and Lloyd Street in the Southwest corner of the square is Lloyd House designed by Speakman and Charlesworth in 1868.  It was originally the Shipping Offices and Packing Company.

In the northwest corner of the square on a narrow site between John Dalton Street and Tasle Alley stands a four storey building built in 1919 by Perc Scott Worthington for the Liverpool & London & Globe Insurance Company.

On the north side of the square across Princess Street is the Northern Assurance Building designed by Waddington and Dunkerley in 1902.

Within the square are a number of statues including: John Bright, political campaigner and MP for Durham and Manchester;

Abel Heywood, publisher, radical, and sometime mayor of Manchester;

William Gladstone, former Prime Minister.

The most prominent monument though is the Albert Memorial to Queen Victoria's consort Albert, after whom the square is named. Designed by Thomas Worthington again, with the statue of the prince by Matthew Noble.

In the square outside of the town hall is a fountain that was designed by Thomas Worthington, the architect of the Crown Court building on Minshull Street, and with sculptures by John Cassidy. The fountain was commissioned for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It was completed in time for the celebrations in 1897. The fountain was the centre of attention in 1894 when it was connected up to the water supply brought to Manchester by a Victorian engineering masterpiece, the Thirlmere Aquaduct. To celebrate the arrival of this water supply officials and the public gathered around the fountain and watched the first water gushing out.

Thirty years after it was placed in the square, it was moved to Heaton Park where over the following 70 years it fell into disrepair. After being restored, it was returned to the square once more in 1997.

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