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Hamilton Square

'Hamilton Square', is Birkenhead's town square which is surrounded on all sides by beautiful and well
designed
Georgian terraces.  The square was thought out to the last detail and notes show that no
two sides of the square were allowed to be identical.  The land on which the square was developed
was purchased in 1824 by Scottish shipbuilder
William Laird.  He wanted a fine square to be the
centre of his Birkenhead, city of the future.  In 1826 he commissioned Gillespie Graham who was a
leading architect at the time, to lay out a square and surrounding streets, based in a similar style to
Edinburgh New Town.  Gillespie Graham envisaged vistas of long, straight and wide avenues lined by
elegant houses.  By 1844 the elegant houses around the square were constructed, with the area
between Brandon Street and Mortimer Street earmarked as the site for the Town Hall.  

Although the square had been completed and a space had been made available for the placement of a
town hall, the work on the building however; did not start until 1883.  The town hall took four years to
construct and was finally opened in 1887 having been built from fine Scottish granite and sandstone
from the local quarry at Storeton.  It was designed by local architect Charles Ellison and was said to
have been a delight to design.  Its 200 foot clock tower is a major landmark visible from the waterfront
on both sides of the River Mersey. Its Cambridge chimes have been heard around the town of
Birkenhead since the clock was first started by young Elsie Laird, daughter of Mayor Williams Laird on
November 27th 1886.  

The Town Hall has been the center of many celebrations and events in Wirral over the years. Election
results have been declared, coronations and jubilee celebrations have seen the front of the building
decked out in bunting and during the royal visits local troops have been inspected in front of then main
entrance. For over 75 years
Remembrance Sunday has been celebrated here by a march past. The
Assembly rooms have seen concerts, political meetings, balls and dances of all kinds.  The hall is still in
great condition, however the upper part of the clock tower had to be rebuilt in 1901 after suffering fire
damage.  The building now houses the Wirral Museum, as well as the town's register office as the town
hall has been moved to Wallasey.  The restored interior is a splendid example of Victorian architecture.  
Apart from the stunning council chamber and it's anterooms and the mayors parlor, the building includes
the Assembly Rooms, containing a gallery and fully fitted theatre, cinema and concert hall.

The
Cenotaph in Hamilton Square opened in 1886 and placed in the middle of  what used to be private
gardens, however it is now predominantly paved.  This area was acquired by the local council in 1903
and were subsequently opened to the public.  The cenotaph is a large cross monument dedicated to
Queen Victoria at the centre of the gardens and a statue of John Laird, the first Member of Parliament
for Birkenhead and the son of William Laird.  The old house of William Laird's which was at 63 Hamilton
Square, is one of those which are Grade I listed and visited by tourists annually.  It is clear that the
beauty and design of Hamilton Square was a sign Birkenhead's peak which is reflected in its history.  
Incidentally Hamilton Square was named after William Laird’s wife’s family, the Hamilton's and is
recorded as being second only to Trafalgar Square in London; for having the most Grade I listed
buildings in one place in England.
The Town Hall - Hamilton Square
Picture taken from www.wikiwirral.co.uk
Town Hall & Cenotaph by Night
Birkenhead Town Hall
Town Hall
Monument & Square
The Cenotaph in Hamilton Square