IMAGES | Next phase of protection works at Wythenshawe Hall after fire

The final piece of scaffolding is being installed this week around the medieval building in South Manchester, in an attempt to preserve the structure after it was set on fire by arsonists in March.

Around 50 firefighters attended the scene at the 16th-Century Wythenshawe Hall earlier this year, to put out the blaze which took hold across the timber-framed building.

Since the fire, an emergency tarpaulin has been used to protect the property while essential structural and archaeological works were completed inside.

A new temporary roof has been craned on to the medieval hall, protecting the building from the elements to allow the wooden sections of the property to dry out, as per recommendations by historic building specialists, including Historic England.

The installation of the new temporary roof this week is the final piece of the scaffolding structure that has been erected around the fire-damaged area of the hall.

As part of this remedial work, the bell tower of the hall has been craned off in a single piece to allow a seamless covering of the damaged roof.

The bell tower was rebuilt in the 1950s as part of a programme of repair work and its core is a contemporary steel-framed structure clad in timber. This meant that the tower did not collapse into the building during the fire, and resulted in much less damage than would otherwise have been the case.

Since the fire, engineers have stabilised the property ensuring it is safe to work inside, while a team of archaeologists have been working through the debris to record, protect and preserve as much original material as possible.

Proposals for the long-term recovery of Wythenshawe Hall will be brought forward by the council in the coming weeks, working with the friends’ group and project partners.

Cllr Sue Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “A huge amount of work has already gone into helping protect Wythenshawe Hall, most visibly the scaffold cocoon that is helping to stabilise the damaged areas of the property and will support the new temporary roofing.

“Inside, countless hours have been spent making sure anything that can be saved is saved. Everything from the largest pieces of furniture that were on display in the building, to the smallest artefacts being unearthed by highly-trained archaeologists.

“It will be a long road to recovery for the building, but working with our partners and the friends’ group, we will see Wythenshawe Hall back to its best.”

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