The Council and democracy Manchester People - March 2017

Our Town Hall project gets final go-ahead

A major project to safeguard and protect  the 140-year-old Manchester Town Hall has been given the go-ahead.

Find full details of the Our Town Hall project here.

The Town Hall is a Grade I-listed landmark of international significance, recognised for its exceptional craftsmanship and architectural quality. It has been at the heart of civic life, cherished by the people of Manchester and beyond, since it opened in 1877.

While it has been maintained and remains structurally sound, it is now seriously showing its age, with many elements reaching the end of their natural lifespans. Without significant work to address damage and defects, its condition will deteriorate to the point where it will become unfit for ongoing use and would need to be ‘mothballed’.

The building, designed in the 1860s, also needs work to bring it up to modern access and safety standards while preserving its heritage.

Deputy Council Leader Councillor Bernard Priest said: “Getting to this point has involved a long and meticulous process. But as a result of the rigorous work done we are confident that we have a scheme which will deliver real and enduring benefits for Manchester.

“Not only will it safeguard this much-loved masterpiece for current and future Mancunians, it will also improve public access to our Town Hall and its treasures and support the city’s economy by giving the building an enhanced role as a visitor destination – and even potentially as a base for emerging businesses.

“Allowing this iconic building to slide into decay and disuse is not an option. We are confident that we have struck the right balance in these plans between introducing some commercial elements which will help generate income to support services and preserving the Town Hall’s essential character.”

Key heritage features of the building, such as the state rooms including the famous Great Hall and its Ford Madox Brown murals will be restored through the project, and external repairs to the roof, stonework and drains carried out on a like-for-like basis.

Significant work is also needed to the electrics, plumbing, heating, ventilation and lift installations – all of which are embedded in the fabric of the building.

If you have questions about the ongoing work or project, please contact ourtownhall@manchester.gov.uk

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