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The History Of The Memorial Hall

Widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Venetian Gothic Revival architecture in the country, Manchester’s Memorial Hall was built by the noted Victorian Architect Thomas Worthington between 1863 and 1866 for the pricely sum of £10,000. It was commissioned by the Unitarian Home Missionary Board to commemorate the Great Ejection of 1662, when 2,000 ministers left the established church rather than submit to the Oath of Conformity. These were the first ‘non-conformists’, and, as well as being a place of religious instruction, the Hall became a home for free thinkers and the younger members of the Unitarian church.An iconic building at the heart of the City

Inspired by the famous Palazzo Santa Sofia on the Grand Canal in Venice, according to Stephen Levrant’s ‘Heritage Architecture’ , the hall’s elevations ‘are an outstanding achievement in their own right, as well as a major contributor to the setting and quality of Manchester’s most important civic space’. In fact, the building pre-dates both the Town Hall and Albert Square itself and, over the years, has housed Sir Charles Halle’s Choir, the Kardomah Coffee House, the Square Albert pub and Consort’s nightclub. Now after lying empty for most of the last decade, the Memorial Hall has come to life once again, an icon at the heart of Manchester.

Note for fans of Victoriana – Thomas Worthington was also responsible for the Albert Memorial in Albert Square, housing Matthew Noble’s statue of Prince Albert, which was built in 1867, some years before its equivalent in London.