St Peter's Square Manchester

Statue of girl reading book win entrance to library

St Peter's Square has a remarkable collection of buildings in a small area. 

White round building with dome and columns
Manchester Central Library

The iconic domed building on St Peter's Square is Manchester Central Library designed by Emanuel Vincent Harris and built in the 1930's. The building is so distinctive that it doesn't need to have a sign on the outside. The inside is equally impressive. 

As you enter, walk up the marble staircase to your left past the statue of The Reader (see top photo). This marble statue was donated to the library by the chairman of the Manchester Ship Canal Company 

At the top of the stairs is the historic reading room lit by a glass oculus.

inside large dome with wooden circular bench and clock
Historic reading room in the dome of Manchester Central Library

Back on the ground floor at the back of the library you will find the Archive and Special Collections Search Room.

Desks in large library with papers and computer
Archive area. Manchester Central Library

Back outside the library and to the left as you exit is Manchester Town Hall Extension, also designed by E. Vincent Harris.  Beyond this is the cenotaph where the remembrance parade takes place in on Remembrance Sunday. 

Building with row of arches covering walkway on ground floor
Manchester Town Hall Extension and Cenotaph

Manchester Town Hall extension has a remarkable colonnade.

Arches receding into distance
Walkway by Manchester Town Hall Extension

Just off St Peter's Square on Moseley Street is Manchester Art Gallery

white building with columns and apex
Manchester City Art Gallery

Back in St Peter's Square is a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst stood on a chair with arm outstretched. 

Bronze statue of Emmeline Pankhurst wearing a hat and holding her arm out
Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Our Emmeline

On you left as you face the library is the Midland Hotel. There's a plaque in the entrance area marking the first meeting on Henry Royce and  Charles Rolls, the founders of Rolls Royce. The Midland Hotel used to serve the Manchester Central railway station, now a conference centre. 

Tiled building  with two large arches in entrance and text Midland Hotel
Midland Hotel Manchester

Behind the Midland Hotel as you walk  down Lower Moseley Street is the Peterloo Memorial This marks the 200th anniversary of the massacre and was unveiled in 2019.

Monument made of stack of concentric circles of different coloured stone
Peterloo Memorial Manchester 

Manchester Central Convention Complex behind the memorial is used for conferences throughout the year and was recently  used as a Nightingale Hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic

Old railway station with arched roof now a conference centre
Manchester Central Convention Complex

The square is on the Emmeline Pankhurst trail which starts at The Peoples History Museum and finishes in the University Area. It's also the starting point for a short walk around Chinatown 


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