Jubilee Fountain, Albert Square, Manchester


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Fountain, Albert Square, Manchester


Ordnance survey map of Jubilee Fountain, Albert Square, Manchester
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Statutory Address:
Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Fountain, Albert Square, Manchester

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Manchester (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Fountain. 1897 to designs by Thomas Worthington, with sculpture by John Cassidy. Restored in 1997. Grey and red granite, sandstone, bronze. Gothic style.

Reasons for Designation

The Jubilee Fountain, Albert Square, Manchester, of 1897 by Thomas Worthington with sculpture by John Cassidy is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Historic Interest: designed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and also to replace a temporary fountain commemorating the new supply of drinking water to Manchester from Thirlmere in the Lake District in 1894 * Design: designed in a Gothic style by the well-known architect, Thomas Worthington with the bronze gargoyle and dolphin components designed by the sculptor John Cassidy * Group Value: the fountain has architectural and historic group value with the Gothic style Town Hall by Alfred Waterhouse and other listed statues in Albert Square, which include Thomas Worthington’s Albert Memorial of 1862-5


In 1894 a temporary fountain was installed in Albert Square next to the Town Hall to celebrate the new supply of Manchester’s drinking water from Thirlmere in the Lake District. Then in the summer of 1896 the Manchester architects practice, Thomas Worthington and Sons, informed the council that an anonymous benefactor wished to present the city with a large ornamental fountain to replace the temporary fountain. The council accepted the gift and agreed that it would stand between the statues of John Bright and Bishop Fraser. Thomas Worthington was responsible for the design of a three basin fountain in granite and sandstone which celebrated Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.The sculptor John Cassidy modelled the bronze gargoyle spouts and a bronze dolphin which decorated the top of the fountain. The structure was built by J & H Patteson under Thomas Worthington’s supervision. The fountain was turned on by the Lord Mayor, Robert Gibson, in January 1898. Its cost was estimated at between £1,000 and £1,200.

Not everyone appreciated the fountain. Some complained that there were too many memorials in Albert Square and others of the annoyance of a sudden soaking due to the unpredictability of the local wind. One Edwardian correspondent called for the ‘useless and irritating object’ to be moved to a more suitable open space in the city, and for a time it was left dry. In the 1920s the fountain was moved to Heaton Park where it stood on the south side of Heaton Hall. In 1986 plans were announced to restore the fountain and return it to the city centre to be the focal point of a new open space in front of the Corn Exchange. This scheme did not happen. However, in 1997 the fountain was returned to its original location between the statues of Bright and Fraser in Albert Square. The restored fountain, which included a sophisticated system for regulating the role of water, was switched on by the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott.


Fountain. 1897 to designs by Thomas Worthington, with sculpture by John Cassidy. Restored in 1997. Grey and red granite, sandstone, bronze. Gothic style.

PLAN: hexagonal plan with three basins reducing in size as they ascend.

DESCRIPTION: the fountain stands on three shallow, hexagonal steps of grey granite. The large hexagonal bowl at the base is of red granite with moulded sides and square piers with moulded caps at each of the six angles. The smaller second hexagonal basin is of sandstone and stands on six colonettes comprising triple engaged shafts of red granite with carved capitals supporting the overhanging corbelling of the bottom of the basin. This basin has deep sides with a moulded band at the bottom running round the six faces and carrying an inscription in raised letters which says ‘ERECTED IN THE SIXTIETH / YEAR OF THE REIGN OF HER / MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY / QUEEN VICTORIA ANNO / DOMINI EIGHTEEN HUNDRED / AND NINETY SEVEN’. Above the inscription the six faces have blind tracery panels, with two of the faces having a raised central panel. That on the town hall side contains the coat of arms and motto of the city of Manchester, and the opposing panel has the coat of arms of the Duchy of Lancaster. Above the tracery panels there is a bronze gargoyle waterspout at the apex of each of the six angles. The upper basin is a small, delicate, shell-like bowl set on a slender pedestal encircled by four single, red granite colonettes with carved capitals. Rising from the centre of the bowl is a central finial comprising four engaged, red granite shafts with a sandstone cap surmounted by a bronze dolphin.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Public Monuments & Sculpture Association, National Recording Project, Jubilee Fountain, accessed 27 April 2015 from http://www.pmsa.org.uk/pmsa-database/4574/


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 29 May 2005
Reference: IOE01/12600/27
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Riley. Source Historic England Archive
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