Nasty piece of work
Found this in the MEN from yesterday. I'm hoping it's not already been posted, I'm afraid I haven't had time to check.
Town hall TV
MANCHESTER town hall stars in a major Brits and mortar TV documentary tomorrow night.
Historian Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, singles it out as one of Britain's most important buildings.
"It's a work of art that's stood the test of time," he said. "This is one of the greatest products of the Victorian age. Manchester town hall is a masterpiece."
The presenter of Channel 4's two-hour Building Britain special said: "I must have been in Manchester town hall a dozen times in my life and every time I get a tingle of excitement up my spine. It's an extraordinary building.
"You can be in no doubt that the people who built it were determined that it was going to become an icon.
"The merchants of Manchester wanted a building that captured the aspirations and vitality of its ambitious middle class. They expected to define the city's achievements as a powerful modern metropolis and trumpet its aspirations to high culture."
Architecture writer John Archer tells the programme: "They wanted it to be outstanding and were prepared to expend any sum to produce a building that would be equivalent, if not superior, to any similar type of building in the country."
Dr Thurley explains how Manchester's industrial revolution textile barons looked to Venice.
"They wanted Manchester to be seen as more than just muck and brass," he said. "They set their sights on a model for a future city - and they chose Venice.
"Like Manchester, Venice had made its fortune by trade and the industrialists saw no reason why the comparison with the great city should stop there. They modelled themselves on Renaissance merchants and prided themselves in being the Medicis of Manchester."
Manchester announced it was to choose the architect by a competition and no expense would be spared. The winner was unknown Alfred Waterhouse - who went on to design the Natural History Museum in London - with a neo-Gothic style building which was "a unique expression of Britishness".
Dr Thurley added: "Despite its appearance, the town hall was anything but old-fashioned. Inside, it was a celebration of new technology, built out of an iron frame with fire-resistant concrete ceilings and an early central heating system hidden in the stairs."
Building Britain is screened on Channel 4 tomorrow at 7pm.