Chop House makeover planned for Memorial Hall

The Victorian Chop House Company, restaurant operator behind Sam's and Mr Thomas's Chop Houses in Manchester, is in advanced negotiations to acquire the Memorial Hall on Albert Square for redevelopment into a restaurant and small hotel.

Project Prince involves conversion of the Grade 2*-listed building on the corner of Lloyd Street and Southmill Street into a ground and lower ground restaurant, first floor function rooms in the memorial hall, with eight bedrooms in total across the second and third floors.

A planning application has been submitted by architects the Hurd Rollland Partnership on behalf of the Victorian Chop House Company. The planning application also seeks change of use consent for the second and third floors from offices to hotel. The building is owned by a private consortium and is currently empty.

The design statement in Hurd Rolland's planning application said the hotel will "bring new life to the heart of the city's main square."

The application continued: "[The Victorian Chop House Company] is a locally-owned and independent business which has had much success in competing with the national chains. It will create a venue not to be found in any other city. And it will restore the Memorial Hall meeting place to the city in a guise appropriate to the 21st century."

The refurbishment will include creation of a photographic exhibition in tribute to the building's Victorian architect, Thomas Worthington, who designed the façade in the Venetian Gothic style. The building was erected in 1864-6 to commemorate the 2,000 nonconformist clergy who seceded from the Church of England in 1662 as a result of the Act of Uniformity and has housed the Manchester Unitarian Sunday School Union and Home Missionary Board, the Charles Halle Choir, and several societies such as the Statistical, the Photographic, Elocutionist.

The plans have been drawn up with the full support of English Heritage. The building sits within the Albert Square conservation area. The project team includes the Hurd Rolland Partnership Chartered Architects; Stephen Levrant Heritage Architects; Thomasons structural engineers; Warrington Martin quantity surveyors; Bill Logan Associates mechanical and electrical; and Sandy Brown Associates acoustic consultants.

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