When Cotton Was King. The Architectural Legacy of 19th Century Manchester

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Please note that this lecture will be held at Fylde Rugby Club at 11.00 am. Coffee will be served from 10.15 onwards

Brian Healey

A senior modern languages teacher in an independent grammar school for many years, Brian Healey has also enjoyed a successful parallel career since the 1980s as a professional artist and interior designer. Since 2006 he has been regularly appointed to a number of prestigious ocean and river cruise lines, either as resident artist, guest lecturer on art history or as destination speaker for more than 40 countries. Most recently this work has successfully extended to art guiding through important towns and museums in France, Belgium, Holland and Spain.

Further information on Brian Healey is available via his website.



‘Cottonopolis’ as it became known, was the world’s first industrialised city that enjoyed unstoppable growth for much of the last century. With it came grand commercial and civic buildings on a scale and of a quality never witnessed in the city before. This lecture examines the extraordinary variety of such buildings and shows how their architects and stonemasons brought directly into the streets of Manchester the golden age of Pericles, the architecture of Renaissance Italy and the gothic of the Grand Canal. It goes into a detailed study of the allegorical sculpture and decoration of many of these buildings, many of which have fascinating stories to tell and which were designed by eminent architects such as Charles Barry and Alfred Waterhouse even before they went on to make names for themselves in the capital itself.


Caption 1: section of Manchester Town Hall
Caption 2: worker bee mosaic floor inside Manchester Town Hall


Suggested Further reading:
The leaflet for this lecture can be downloaded here


Below are some photos of this lecture.