Rochdale Town Hall restoration
Rochdale Town Hall is widely regarded as one of the UK’s finest examples of Victorian gothic architecture. The Grade-I listed building was designed by William Crossland and opened in 1871 as a symbol of the town’s industrial standing in the textiles trade.
For the first time in its history, the town hall will be fully open for the enjoyment of all residents and visitors. It will truly become your town hall.
The extensive work being carried out will create an open and accessible space featuring exhibition rooms and a new Bright Hall for community events.
Why the restoration is being done now
The building was falling into a poor state of repair and it had become vital that it was preserved for generations to come. The interior was starting to become damaged and the building's roof needed replacing.
A town hall for everyone
Community involvement has been at the heart of the project. Rochdale Development Agency (RDA) consulted local people before the restoration started and used the responses in the planning stages. One of the main things that people said was that they wanted the town hall to be a space for everyone.
The town hall will become more accessible for all visitors and will provide a safe space that promotes cultural community activities. This will see community-generated exhibitions using stories and memories with hidden histories shared. The Bright Hall will be restored to become a multi-functional room for learning, community and commercial use, such as performing weddings.
There will be a new lift and staircase within the clock tower to improve access, with separate access to the Bright Hall on the second floor. Outside, ramps will be put in place for wheelchair users, people with mobility issues and for those visiting with pushchairs.
Work taking place
Phase One started in January 2021 and is now complete. This phase, funded by the council, saw major structural work carried out, including:
- Removing asbestos
- Removing the old electrical system
- Modernising the building's drainage system
- Structural work to create openings for new lifts and access points
- Removing partition walls and mezzanines
- Putting in place protection for the stained glass windows and wood panelling
- Putting in place foundations for the new terracing around the town hall
- Putting in place a new fire protection system
- Cleaning external stonework
Phase Two began in the summer of 2021. This time-consuming, labour-intensive operation will continue up until the town hall reopening in the summer of 2023. This phase includes:
- Internal repairs
- Restoration of stained glass windows, including the Cromwell window which was removed and taken to studios in York for preservation.
- External repairs including roof works, stone repairs and pointing
- Window replacements to make the town hall waterproof
- Making the building fully accessible with a new lift and staircase in the clock tower, and new terracing around the building
- Providing adequate toilet facilities on all floors
- Specialist cleaning of the delicate painted interiors in all heritage rooms such as the Great Hall, Mayor’s Parlour and the main reception
- Improving roof insulation to make the building more environmentally sustainable
- A new secure entrance to the building to be known as the Welcome Gallery
- Creating a new Town Hall Square for pedestrians