Manchester City Council

The Council & democracy Interesting facts about the Town Hall

All creatures great and small

The Expulsion of the Danes - Ford Madox Brown mural starring a pig
  • Ford Madox Brown's murals in the Great Hall were painted from live models brought into the room – these included a live pig, which promptly escaped, causing great concern.
  • The landing outside the Great Hall is known as the Bees, after its mosaic floor decorated with bees, symbols of Manchester's industrious spirit.  The mosaic was laid by Venetian craftsmen.
  • When the Town Hall opened, living quarters were included for the Lord Mayor, plus the Town Hall Steward - who was in charge of the building and attended to the 'upkeep and repair of all statues, cattle troughs and drinking fountains in the city - and the House Steward, who looked after the Lord Mayor and was responsible for 'the corporation plate' (silverware).
  • In the early 20th century, a pigeon was killed after 'flying against one of the spikes of the gilt ball' at the tip of the Clock Tower. The Lord Mayor ordered it retrieved and the unfortunate bird was stuffed for inclusion among the exhibits in the Sculpture Hall.
  • The Town Hall's clock tower serves as a lofty lookout post for Manchester's breeding pair of Peregrine Falcons.  The supremely fast aerial predators are the king and queen of the city's skies and can often be spotted perching close to the top of the tower.
  • Another rare bird, the Black Redstart, has been heard singing from the Town Hall's roof in recent years.  Local ornithologists are keeping an eye out for the Robin-sized birds, which traditionally favour mountainous areas like the Swiss Alps, but are increasingly adapting to urban settings.

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