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Thursday, February 29, 2024
ConstructionCouncillors get sneak preview inside Rochdale's restored Town Hall

Councillors get sneak preview inside Rochdale’s restored Town Hall

Final touches are being put in place for the multi-million pound restoration of Rochdale Town Hall.

Work on the Grade I Listed building’s extensive historic spaces is on the brink of completion, with the town hall set to reopen to the public on March 3.

This week, to mark the occasion, councillors stepped inside to see the dramatic transformation first hand.

The incredible project, which is being supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with money raised by National Lottery players, has changed the face of one of the North West’s most well-known buildings, which first opened in 1871.

A team of experts and volunteers have come together to restore the building’s incredible rooms and reopen spaces that were previously hidden from public view, creating a completely new offer for residents and visitors.

Changes made

  • Restoration of the historic fabric of the building’s rooms, including the great hall, the reception rooms and the mayor’s parlour.
  • Revamp of a room previously used as office space to create a brand new community and events space, known as the ‘Bright hall’.
  • Repair and cleaning of much of the building’s stained glass, painted surfaces, Minton floor tiles and intricate stonework.
  • Creation of a brand new permanent exhibition space, known as the ‘Welcome Gallery’, which has been co-created with members of the Rochdale community and tells the story of Rochdale, its history and its people. The exhibition will feature interactives and films, as well as a mixture of historic artefacts and meaningful items donated by residents.

Almost 500 volunteers have been part of the restoration and will be granted an early look inside the space which they worked so hard to help transform.

Over the next couple of months, the final preparation for opening will get under way. This will include training an army of enthusiastic tour guides whose job it will be to tell the story of this incredible space, including its recent restoration, to the building’s future visitors. In addition, work to create the town hall’s brand new restaurant, The Martlet, will continue at pace.

Councillor Janet Emsley said: “The town hall holds a special place in the hearts of our residents and I know people are intrigued to know what’s been happening since its doors first closed in 2020. It’s been a real honour to see some of these spaces, alongside our many volunteers, whose contribution to this project has been immeasurable.

“This project is about much more than restoring these incredible rooms and details. It’s about creating a completely new offer for visitors and giving this building back to the people of the borough, to whom it ultimately belongs. I’m delighted to say that they will be able to see it in just a few short months. It will certainly be worth the wait. ”

Helen Featherstone, of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said they were “extremely proud to have supported the ambitious project, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.”

The redevelopment of Rochdale Town Hall is being delivered by Rochdale Development Agency (RDA) on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council. Restoration work will continue in 2024 to restore the west wing of the building, which includes the council chamber and public gallery.

 

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