Buttress has been appointed to work on the restoration of the grade two-listed Hopwood Hall in Rochdale, a project which has seen a Hopwood descendent relocate from Hollywood in order to lead the campaign to save his family seat.
Emergency works on the hall began last spring, but structural repairs can now progress on other parts of the building after a grant from Historic England and match-funding from Rochdale Council totalling £276,000. In total, the restoration is set to cost around £8m.
Grant Prescott of Buttress Architects is a specialist in conservation architecture and will head the project.
He said: “Hopwood Hall is a magnificent building with fascinating stories from many different eras, not least the story of Hopwood DePree coming to live in the UK from LA to save his ancestral home. Sadly, this ancient Hall which dates back to 1426 has been on Historic England’s ‘At Risk Register’ for many years, but now its future looks promising and we are excited to be working with Hopwood and the wider team to help save it.
“In particular, the hall’s ornamental plasterwork and incredible carved joinery offers a fascinating challenge to me, as a conservation architect, and the team. However, by adopting a careful and methodical approach, we can ensure that it will remain standing for the different phases of work going forward and can offer a lasting, priceless piece of history for generations to come.”
Hopwood DePree XIV is leading the campaign to restore the hall; he is a descendant of the Hopwood family, who owned Hopwood Hall for 500 years until the early 20th century. The hall is now owned by Rochdale Council, which is managing and overseeing the emergency repair works.
The council has entered into an exclusivity agreement with DePree, so he has the option of acquiring the hall at a future date once he develops a detailed strategy for its long-term preservation and protection. An actor-turned-producer from LA, he has plans to use the hall as an arts venue, and fundraising ideas include getting backing for a reality TV show tracking the progress of the project.