In DiscoverIdeas

Wandering through the streets and squares of Greater Manchester you will come across a number of statues and memorials. In this blog post, we have rounded up some of the weird and wonderful statues on display in Greater Manchester. How many have you seen?

Abraham Lincoln - Brazennose Street

Abraham Lincoln – Brazennose Street

Currently standing on Brazennose Street is the 16th American president: Abraham Lincoln. The Abraham Lincoln statue, designed by American sculptor George Grey Barnard, first arrived in Manchester in 1919 and was erected in Platt Field’s Park. However, the statue was moved in 1986 to its current position on Brazennose Street.

So why is there a statue of Abraham Lincoln in the city centre of Manchester? During the American Civil War, the people of Manchester boycotted cotton picking in the southern states in protest against slave labour. This protest led to mass unemployment in Manchester, however, assisted Lincoln in ending the Civil War. As a sign of respect and appreciation, Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter praising the working people of Manchester.

Albert Monument – Albert Square

The largest monument in Albert Square is the Grade I listed Albert Memorial. The statue was erected in 1866 and had been sculpted by Matthew Noble which is placed in a Medieval-style ciborium designed by Thomas Worthington. Noble had been commissioned by the mayor, Thomas Goadsby, to sculpt the memorial and the designs were personally approved by Queen Victoria. It is said that the people of Manchester wanted a memorial of the former Prince Consort to commemorate his work as a leader for public education in the arts.

Other notable statues in Albert Square include:

  • William Gladestone, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, by Mario Raggi built in 1901.
  • John Bright, former MP and founder of the Anti-Corn Law League, by Albert Bruce-Joy in 1894.
  • James Fraser, former Bishop of Manchester (1870 – 1885), built by Thomas Woolner in 1887.

Alan Turing Memorial – Sackville Park

The Alan Turing Memorial sits on a bench in Sackville Park located by Manchester’s Gay Village and was unveiled on June 23, Alan Turing’s birthday, 2001. Alan Turing is known for his work in computer science as a founder of the first stored-program computer. Many sources state that Sir Winston Churchill hailed Turing for “making the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany” due to his work on decoding encrypted messages from the Germans.

Turing had been charged with gross indecency in 1952, at the time homosexual acts were criminal offences in the United Kingdom. Following an online petition in 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a public apology on behalf of the British government for Turing’s treatment and in 2013 Queen Elizabeth II granted a posthumous pardon. Alan Turing has become an icon for the LGBT community highlighting the prejudices and discrimination the community faced. 

Did you know that part of Manchester’s ring road is called Alan Turing Way?

The Vimto Monument – Granby Row

In 1908 a herbalist called Noel Nichols made his very first barrel of Vim Tonic (later becoming Vimto) in a terraced house on Granby Row. Vimto is a soft drink made with a mix of fruits and herbs which grew a loyal following in British territories. In 1992 the “Monument to Vimto” was installed at the site of its creation and has become a pilgrimage site for tourists and locals alike. The monument consists of a giant Vimto bottle surrounded by some of the fruits and herbs used in the drink’s production.

The Last Shot / South African War Memorial – St Ann’s Square

The Last Shot memorial stands in St Ann’s Square and was sculpted by Hamo Thornycroft. Erected in 1908, the memorial is dedicated to the “officers, non-commissioned officers, and men” who lost their lives in the Boer War and shows two soldiers – one standing holding a rifle and an injured soldier handing over his ammunition. There are bronze plaques on all sides of the pedestal which record the 317 names of those who lost their lives in the war.

You may have heard of St Ann’s Square following the Manchester Arena terrorist attack where people gathered and lay tributes to the 22 people who lost their lives. To donate to the We Love Manchester fund please visit: www.welovemcrcharity.org

Friedrich Engels - First Street

LS Lowry – Sam’s Chop House

Founded in 1872, Sam’s Chop House is one of the oldest traditional pubs in the city centre and is home to a permanent local – LS Lowry. The 700lb life-size bronze statue of LS Lowry, one of Britain’s greatest artists, was commissioned by the pub owner after learning Lowry was a regular at Sam’s whilst he worked as a debt collector. The statue was unveiled in 2011 and has since become a popular tourist attraction whilst enjoying a pint in a traditional British pub.

Read Mancunian blogger Corporate Dad’s Top 5 Back Street Boozers

Friedrich Engels – First Street

Standing in the centre of First Street is political ideologist Friedrich Engels. Having spent two decades in Manchester researching for his book “The Condition of the Working Class in England”, Engels then contributed to his famous ideology “The Communist Manifesto” with Karl Marx. The iconic socialist thinker’s life is well documented in Manchester and is commemorated by a 3.5-metre statue, which was transported to Manchester from a village in Ukraine, by artist Phil Collins as part of the Manchester International Festival 2017.

The Friedrich Engels statue stands just outside of HOME, a centre for international contemporary art, theatre and film. To find out more about HOME click here

Queen Victoria – Piccadilly Gardens

Queen Victoria is one of Britain’s longest-serving monarchs, having served as Queen for 63 years, is commemorated in Manchester by a large bronze statue situated in Piccadilly Gardens. The statue was designed by sculptor Edward Onslow Ford; unfortunately, Queen Victoria never saw the statue as it had been completed after her death in 1901.

Top tip: If you look above the throne you can see a small monument showing St George fighting a dragon.  

Tameside’s World Cup Winners – Curzon Ashton FC

Situated outside of Curzon Ashton FC’s stadium is a bronze statue tribute to the three footballers born in Tameside to have won the World Cup. Unveiled in December 2010, the statue portrays Jimmy Armfield, Sir Geoff Hurst and Simone Perrotta in action and stands as a testament to Tameside’s place in football history. Jimmy Armfield and Sir Geoff Hurst were both members of the England squad which won the World Cup in 1966, beating West Germany 4-2 in the final. The third player is Simone Perrotta who won the World Cup with Italy in 2010. Perrotta was born in Tameside to Italian parents and spent five years attending primary school in the region.

Did you know: Sir Geoff Hurst is the only player to have scored a hat-trick in a World Cup Final?

The Manchester United Trinty - Old Trafford

The Manchester United Trinity – Old Trafford

One of the most iconic statues sporting statues around the world is situated outside Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium. The Manchester United ‘Trinity’ statue features the famous trio of George Best, Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton who all played an essential role in making United the first ever English club to win the European Cup in 1968. Unveiled in 2008, the statue has quickly become a popular spot for fans to congregate and take pictures on a visit to the stadium.

Gracie Fields – Rochdale Town Hall

Gracie Fields was born above a fish and chip shop in Rochdale in 1898 and went on to become the world’s highest paid female actor in the 1930s. The life-sized statue was unveiled outside Rochdale Town Hall in 2016 and was the first statue of a woman to be built in Greater Manchester for more than 100 years. Throughout the Second World War, Gracie Fields became known as a “forces’ sweetheart” due to her travelling performances for the troops. Fields became a Dame in 1979, just months before her death aged 81.

Find out more about the life of Gracie Fields through the heritage trail in Rochdale which features blue plaques marking key locations in her life.

Frank Sidebottom – Stockport Road, Timperley

Frank Sidebottom was an alter-ego created by comedian and musician Christopher Sievey in 1984, which became a cult hero throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. Sievey’s character became instantly recognisable due to a large spheroid head originally made from papier-mache. The town of Timperley is referenced throughout Frank Sidebottom performances and famously covered the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK” changing its title to “Anarchy in Timperley”. Following the death of Chris Sievey in 2010 the statue of Frank Sidebottom was unveiled in 2013 in the town centre of Timperley.

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