Great Victorian Buildings (That Are Still With Us)

Some of the many fine Victorian Buildings from around the UK including the Royal Albert Hall, Palace of Westminster, Manchester Town Hall and more…

Queen Victoria’s reign as the British monarch lasted from 1837 to 1901, making her one of the longest-reigning monarchs in history (on the present Queen has reigned longer).

The period was a time of political reform and progress (not all good); one notable form this burst of energy showed itself was in the field of architectural revival styles.

From the mid-19th-century onwards, lavish buildings popped up across the country, each of which seemed to adopt historic architectural styles and re-create them in an eclectic manner.

Today some of these Victorian buildings remain standing – here are some of the best…


Victorian Buildings From Around The UK

Palace of Westminster

Victorian palace of westminster

While the Houses of Parliament date back to the 11th century, Big Ben and Westminster were built during the Victorian eras. The Palace of Westminster is considered to be a Victorian Gothic masterpiece.

After the original structure burnt to the ground in the in 1834, a competition was launched to design a new building. It was architect Sir Charles Barry’s design that won the bid and his plans to build a complex of buildings in a Gothic style were accepted.

The designs incorporated the surviving medieval buildings and extended to cover 8 acres of land along the River Thames.

While construction was predicted to last six years it took over 30 meaning neither Barry, nor his architectural aid Augustus Welby Pugin, lived to see the finished building.

In 1987 the Palace of Westminster was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and awarded ongoing protection.


St Pancras

Great Victorian Buildings (That Are Still With Us) 1

Saint Pancras International Railway Station is another of London’s spectacular Victorian-era buildings.

This Grade I listed building has been the gateway to the capital for over 150 years and was designed by William Henry Barlow (the man responsible for completing Brunel’s Suspension Bridge).

The construction of the opulent train station came about after parliament approved a proposal from Midland Railway for a new route into London.

The Great Northern Line ended up displacing many residents of Camden, and the station itself took two years to build.


Cliveden House

Great Victorian Buildings (That Are Still With Us) 2

The mastermind behind the Palaces of Westminster, Sir Charles Barry, was also responsible for the design of Cliveden House.

Built for the Duke of Sutherland in the Italianate style, Cliveden House overlooks the River Thames in Buckinghamshire and was regularly frequented by Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century.

Thanks to the Profumo affair, Cliveden Houses is considered to be one of the most infamous historic buildings in the country and today operates as a 5-star luxury hotel.

Guests can enjoy the elaborate architecture and manicured grounds all year round.


Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall

Constructed in 1871 and named after Prince Albert, the Royal Albert Hall in London is another excellent example of Victorian-era architecture in the capital.

Having hosted some of the world’s greatest performers for over 150 years, the Royal Albert Hall is considered to be one of the most popular entertainment venues in the country.

It was architect Captain Francis that undertook the design of the building in the Italianate style, and after four years of construction, the doors first opened for Queen Victoria in 1871.

Since its creation, the building has survived two world wars and remains unmodified to this day.

Balmoral Castle

Great Victorian Buildings (That Are Still With Us) 3

Specifically built for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Balmoral Castle sits in the heart of Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park. This royal residency boasts a Scottish Baronial-revival style and is one of Scotland’s most notable Victorian-era buildings.

Opposed to being a medieval fortification, Balmoral Castle is more of a summer-house designed by architect William Smith. While Smith’s designs were primarily implemented, it is well known that Prince Albert made a handful of modifications to make the building to his liking.

The castle remains as the private property of the royal family, but visitors are invited to explore the sprawling gardens and manicured grounds during the summer months.


Victoria Building, University of Liverpool

Great Victorian Buildings (That Are Still With Us) 4

Leave London behind again and head north to Liverpool where you’ll find the Victoria Building, a protected Grade II listed building that really packs a Victorian punch. Once the headquarters of the University of Liverpool, this red brick building is the design of architect Alfred Waterhouse.

Waterhouse insisted that only red pressed bricks were to be used during construction which quickly led to the nickname “red brick university”.

In 2008 the building ceased to operate as part of the university and re-opened as the Victoria Gallery and Museum.
Today visitors can head inside and explore numerous exhibits covering the history of the University of Liverpool.


Manchester Town Hall

Great Victorian Buildings (That Are Still With Us) 5

Similar to the University of Liverpool Victoria Building, Manchester’s town hall also boasts a beautiful display of Victorian-era architecture.

In the early 19th century Manchester became one of the first cities to be truly recognised as an industrial town. When the original Town Hall became too small for its purpose in 1868 a competition was held to rebuild it.

Architect Alfred Waterhouse (the man behind Liverpool’s Victoria Building) took charge.

He created a Victorian building that paid homage to the gothic style of the 13th century while enjoying the modernities of the 19th century (the building boasted a warm air heating system!).

Today the building is a popular wedding venue and is also frequently used as a filming location for popular period dramas including Sherlock Holmes and The Iron Lady.


Conclusion

While the majority of the country’s best examples of Victorian-era buildings are found in London, don’t be surprised to come across plenty in northern England too!

Queen Victoria’s reign, and the unprecedented era of industrial change in the 19th century, certainly left its mark on England as we know it today.

If you like this, you'll love our online magazine called 'The Anglophile'.

Here's a chance to get a FREE copy of the Editor's Choice Issue full of the best of the magazine.