Liverpool Town Hall, Castle Street
1749-54; 1789-92; 1795-1820
Grade I listed building
Town Hall, Liverpool’s finest Georgian building, is the result of three building campaigns. The original design was by John Wood of Bath, and was built in 1749-54. The work was supervised by his son John Wood the Younger. Additions and alterations were designed by James Wyatt and carried out by the elder John Foster in 1789-92; then, following a fire of 1795, it was reconstructed by Foster and Wyatt, the work continuing until c.1820.
Wyatt’s dome was added in 1802, and the Corinthian south portico in 1811. Surmounting the dome is a Coade Stone figure of Minerva or Britannia made by John Rossi in 1801-2.
The dome stands on a high drum supported on Corinthian columns. Around the base of the dome are four clock faces, each of which is supported by a lion and unicorn. On the summit of the dome is a statue, representing Minerva. It is 10 feet high and was designed by John Charles Felix Ross.
The main staircase rises between two pairs of Corinthian columns to a half-landing, and narrower flights climb from that on each side to the upper floor. On the half-landing is a statue of George Canning dated 1832 by Francis Chantrey, and hanging on the wall above this is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Sir Edward Halliday.
Above the staircase is the circular dome – carried by four pendentives. Around the base of the dome is inscribed Liverpool’s motto, “Deus Nobis Haec Otia Fecit”, and in the pendentives are paintings dated 1902 by Charles Wellington Furse depicting scenes of dock labour.
The ground floor has encaustic tiles.
The Liverpool Motto is a quotation from Virgil and translates as ‘God has given to us this leisure’.
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