By 1887, when the Town Hall was completed, Manchester's first industrial period was over. Whereas much textile production was now more focused in surrounding towns, Manchester had developed considerably in manfacture of machinery and as a commercial centre for the textile industry.
In 1853 Manchester acquired city status and there was much pride in the construction of a Town Hall to match the achievements of the city. The design of the present building was successful in beating off masses of competition.
I will admit that I see a major distinction between restoration of a building in its original style and erecting a new building in an old style with the word neo stuck in front. Hence neo-Gothic on the whole fails to grab me but, if you find it legitimate, you will certainly love this building which is spectacular enough for anybody. At 280 feet high the belltower dominates the largely open square in something like the manner of a cathedral tower.
Inside it is sometimes difficult to remember that the building is not original Gothic with its hammebeam ceilings and vaulted corridors but whereas in earlier centuries the corridors were necessarily dark and light was one of the key aims of building, htese are deliberately darker than necessary.
However this is carping and the Great Hall, with its Rre-Raphelite murals, designed to resemble a 13th century Flemish weaving hall is fine enough to stifle any carping from me. The mosaic floors are also of a very, very high standard.
It is not only possible to see this building but even to see it FREE with guided tours from Monday to Friday. It is a good idea to phone and check however because occasionally a tour is cancelled.