Alfred Waterhouse’s major existing work and masterpiece in Manchester is the town hall (1868) with a design in Venetian Gothic. The building is executed with solid and splendid interior detail. Completed in 1887, this most impressive neo-Gothic building cost a million pounds and is acknowledged as a masterpiece in its own right. It rises as a Victorian edifice – a monument to the civic pride of the city fathers, reaching 286 feet above Albert Square below.
Iit was fitted masterfully onto an awkward triangular space – although not unanimously liked as the best looking design, it proved the most practical of the 136 other designs entered. Manchester had achieved city status in 1853, and was keen to show off its civic dignity. Inside it is lavishly and richly decorated, with mosaic floors bearing the “bees”, symbols of Manchester’s industry, and has wall murals by Ford Madox Brown.