THEN AND NOW: 7 Victorian Era landmarks and what they look like today

This was one of England's first seaside resorts, established during the Victorian Era.

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This was one of England’s first seaside resorts, established during the Victorian Era.
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Library of Congress/ Wikimedia Commons

  • Many famous landmarks from the Victorian Era still stand in England.
  • The Worthing Pier and the Scarborough Spa were both built so that people in the Victorian Age could enjoy the water. They are still in use in some form today.
  • St. Stephen’s Church in Bristol and the Manchester Cathedral in Manchester are open to visitors.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

During Queen Victoria’s reign in England (1837-1901), the notion that architecture should be visually appealing instead of just practical took hold.

Many of the buildings, statues, and cathedrals built during this time are still considered to be some of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the UK. To celebrate this style of architecture, On Stride Financial paired archived photos with recent images to find out how England has evolved since Victorian times.

From London to Newcastle, see what many famous Victorian landmarks looked like when they were first built, and what they’re like today.


When St. George’s Hall in Liverpool opened in 1854 it served as both a courthouse and an event space.

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St. George’s Hall on the left.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

In the 19th century, the people of Liverpool wanted to build a space for music festivals, so they decided to build St. George’s Hall. But the city also needed a site for the Civil and Crown Courts, so they put the courts inside the event hall too. The building has since become known for its striking neoclassical architecture.


The road outside St. George’s Hall has barely changed in the past 400 years.

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St George’s Hall.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

Although horse and buggies are a thing of the past, besides the vehicles not much has changed outside St. George’s Hall, which acts a concert venue today. Across the street now stands the Lime Street railway station.


The Victoria Embankment in London once held the original Waterloo Bridge, which one sculptor called the “noblest bridge in the world.”

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Cleopatra’s Needle stands in the middle, while the Waterloo Bridge is on the far right.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

The original Waterloo Bridge, which stretches across the Thames River in London, opened in 1817 to rave reviews. Sculptor Antonio Canova, for example, called it “the noblest bridge in the world.” He recommended people visit London just to see the bridge and its 120-foot semi-circle arches.

If you look closely, you can also see Cleopatra’s Needle in the middle of the image, which is an obelisk Egypt gave to England as a gift in 1878.


The Waterloo Bridge was rebuilt after being demolished in World War II.

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The Victoria Embankment today.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

During World War II, the only Thames bridge to be damaged by German bombs was the Waterloo Bridge. As the men went off to war, women got to work fixing it in 1938, causing it to be nicknamed “The Ladies’ Bridge.”

As for Cleopatra’s Needle, it still stands over the river, and you can visit it today.


During the Victorian Era, this intersection in Manchester was famous for the controversial statue on the left and the Manchester Cathedral on the right.

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Cromwell statue on the left and Manchester Cathedral on the right.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

In 1875, Mrs. Abel Heywood gifted the city of Manchester a statue of her first husband, Oliver Cromwell, dressed in armor and a sword. The statue stood in the middle of what was then known as Victoria Street, to much controversy. The local Irish population as well as Brits of Irish descent were against it as Cromwell’s troops – he served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland – were said to have killed many innocent Irish during the invasion of Ireland in 1649. Queen Victoria allegedly refused to open Manchester’s town hall until the statue was taken down.

The Manchester Cathedral, which has a history that dates back to the 7th century, also stood on Victoria Street.


The cobblestones around Victoria Street and the Crowell statue have now disappeared from the intersection.

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Victoria Street today.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

The controversial Cromwell statue was moved to Wythenshawe Hall in the 1980s, but there are plans to return the statue to its original location as part of the city’s plan to celebrate its medieval history, according to the Manchester Evening News.

The Manchester Cathedral still stands today, and you can visit the historical site.


Newcastle’s famous Black Gate was once a gatehouse for the city’s castle.

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Black Gate on the left and Newcastle Castle on the right.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

Black Gate was built between 1247 and 1250 as a gatehouse to protect the castle that gave the town of Newcastle its name. If you look closely at Black Gate, on the left, you can see small holes through which men would shoot arrows or throw boiling water on intruders.

In 1619, Alexander Stephenson rented Black Gate and turned it into a home, adding the second and third floors.


Although Black Gate and the castle still stand today, the surrounding area of Newcastle is much different.

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Back Gate and Newcastle today.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

Modern cars fill the streets today, while newer buildings have sprung up in the space between Black Gate and the castle.

Today, Newcastle Castle has been turned into a museum.


Scarborough Spa was considered England’s first seaside resort.

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Scarborough.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

In the 17th century, it was discovered that the town of Scarborough had natural mineral water that many thought was medicinal. People flocked to the seaside town to experience the waters and enjoy some leisure time, prompting some to call it England’s first seaside resort.

In 1839, the Scarborough Spa buildings were opened on the town’s shores, housing a 500-person concert hall, a promenade, and an expansive garden. But the new complex was already too small for the number of Victorian tourists flocking to the area.


Today, it’s a lively event space in North Yorkshire.

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Scarborough Spa today.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

Today, the Scarborough Spa is a conference, exhibit, entertainment, and banquet space. It’s also home to the Scarborough Spa Orchestra.


The Worthing Pier was a popular attraction in Victorian England before it was swept away by gale-force winds.

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The Worthing Pier.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

The town of Worthing built Worthing Pier in 1862. Back then it featured two kiosks on land as well as a pavilion on the other end.

In 1912, 80-mile-per-hour winds destroyed much of the pier, dismantling the boardwalk between the kiosks and the pavilion. As a result, the pavillion was stranded out in the water and became national news. A year later, the pier was rebuilt, and eventually, the kiosks were replaced by another pavillion.


Today, the Worthing Pier has been converted into a theater.

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Worthing Pier today.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

The Pavilion Theatre was a nightclub for several years before becoming the cafe and event space that it is today. The pier now stretches out 960 feet, with an arcade in the center.


During the Victorian Era, St. Stephen’s Church welcomed boats and traders into Bristol Harbour.

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St. Stephen’s Church is the cathedral on the right.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

Built in the 13th century by monks, St. Stephen’s Church was one of the tallest buildings in the city, becoming a local landmark on Bristol Harbour during the Victoria Era.


Today, St. Stephen’s Church is hidden by trees and other taller buildings.

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St. Stephen’s Church today.
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Courtesy of On Stride Financial

The city replaced the harbor with roads for commercial traffic. Today, the street is filled with cars and modern high rises.