an alphabet of 20th century greater manchester architecture, from the manchester modernist society. in regular instalments from aldine to zochonis.
Manchester Town Hall Extension, E Vincent Harris 1938
St.Peter's Square, Manchester
The Extension is an external gallery of applied art and sculpture if you look closely above your eyeline. Above the staircase panel on Library Walk is a Stancliffe stone figure by Hermon Cawthra called Philosopher. On the Lloyd Street side are two female figures representing Commerce and Cotton. Both are wearing shawls on their heads. Cotton holds a weaving distaff and Commerce has a ship in her hand. The panels were probably carved by Earp, Hobbs & Miller. They show coats of arms of Manchester and Lancashire and other decorative work, such as cotton flowers and the Lancashire rose. Philosopher is said to have been nicknamed "Mr Therm" because the Corporation Gas Department's showroom was on the ground floor of the Extension. In those days, you ordered your new gas oven from the Council at the Town Hall Extension. "Mr Therm" was a cartoon character promoting the use of municipally generated coal gas.
E Vincent Harris also designed the rather differently styled Central Reference Library just next door.
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