|Aglio obtained the contract to decorate the interior of the original
Town Hall that had been built on the corner of King Street and Cross
Street in 1825. Details below.
Unfortunately there are no records of the work available and the
building was demolished in 1912 after a new Town Hall,
designed by Alfred
Waterhouse, was built in 1887 on a new site.
While he was in Manchester he was dealing with the aftermath of
problems with a court case involving Lord Kingsborough
and Sir Thomas Phillipps. The
outcome of all this was bankruptcy. This case was related to Agostino's
work on the Mexican Antiquities.
There are archived many letters sent from Lord Kingsborough to Aglio
at Manchester Town Hall.
While in Manchester, it seems that Aglio produced a number of
drawings and prints. These include 6
sketch portraits which are shown amongst others in the Gallery
Details of the Old Manchester Town Hall
about The first Town Hall
taken fron History About Manchester
land once occupied by Dr White’s house was acquired in 1820
and work began on Manchester’s first Town Hall two years
later. Designed by the London Architect Francis Goodwin, the
laying of the foundation stone, just three years after Peterloo
was surrounded by controversy, a grand procession led by the
Boroughreeve and his constables, whose naked sword blades raised
the consternation of many of the onlookers.
The building cost £40,000, its design based on the temple of
Erectheus in Athens and its dome modelled on the octagonal tower
of Andronicus. Over the entrance which was guarded by two
figures in the form of Salom and Alfred the Great, were figures
representing commerce and trade, while the facade above the
columns consisted of medallions representing Pythagoras and
Locke, and Lycurgus and Hale, meant to represent the combining
of ancient and modern philosophy and law.
The ground floor was used by the police, including part used for
the residence of the deputy constable, while the council
chambers were on the first floor. In 1830 a Mr Aglio added
frescoes to the internal decoration of the hall. One in
celebration of the defeat of Napoleon, others representing
Manchester’s connection to Trade. Lord MacCartney meeting the
Emperor of China, Sebastian Cabot landed on the coast of America
and the King of Persia receiving a deputation from England.
There was also a depiction of the expedition of Jason and the
Argonauts, said to have taken place in 1263 BC. With
Manchester incorporation in 1838, a staircase and entrance hall
was added but even by this time with the town growing, the Town
Hall was becoming unfit for purpose.
The last meeting of the City Council before they moved into
their new accommodation at Albert Square, was in January 1877,
but in its brief history as a Town Hall, the King Street site
had seen many momentous events, a visit from Queen Victoria,
forty thousand people filing past the coffin of John Dalton and
many meetings involving the anti Corn Law League.
The site was used for Manchester Reference Library as a
temporary measure due to the state of disrepair of the
Library’s original location in Campfields but it was finally
demolished in the early twentieth century, though its colonnade,
after a campaign by the Manchester architect Edgar Wood remains
to this day in Heaton Park.
See also Manchester
from a booklet about the New Town Hall in Albert Square
The splendid building in Albert
Square is not Manchester's original Town Hall. In 1814, the Police
Commissioners of Manchester purchased property at the comer of King
Street and Cross Street with the intention of establishing the town's
administrative offices there.
This project took a full ten
years to get off the ground. For one thing, the period following the
Napoleonic War was an unsettled one. For another, the existing building
was used during 1819 by the military authority who remained in
Manchester after the Peterloo Massacre. They felt it in a bad state of
repair. The Commissioners decided to recondition the property and move
in without delay. But this proved impracticable and they agreed to build
an entirely new Town Hall - relying on their gasworks undertaking to
produce sufficient profits to finance the project. The main structure
was erected in 1825 at a cost of £40,000, a great deal more than
estimated, but was not completed until after it had been transferred by
the Commissioners to the Borough Council in 1843. In 1825, the population of
Manchester was around 120,000. This increased rapidly as did the
responsibilities and enterprises of the local Authority. The Town Hall
in King Street proved to be an inconvenient and inadequate public
building. As the operations of the authority extended, it had to hire
rooms in other buildings. In 1863 a sub-committee was appointed to
consider the erection of a bigger Town Hall.
The old Town Hall in King
Street served as the Central Reference Library until 1912 when it was
sold and demolished to make way for commercial development.
The façade was taken to Heaton
Park and erected where it now stands close to the lake.
Taken from a booklet about the New Town Hall