Manchester’s Science & Industry Museum is embarking on a two-year project to restore the grade two-listed Power Hall on its Liverpool Road site, with a repaired roof and fully-operational steam engines.
The museum is in its 50th birthday year, and is undertaking a programme of works including major repairs to the roof and a redisplay of the gallery. The displays will explore the ongoing relationship between humans, machines and power.
The “urgently-needed” work on the roof will be funded by £6m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. Further funding for the redisplayed gallery and returning the machines to steam has been provided by the Science Museum Group.
The grade two-listed Power Hall was built in 1855 as the shipping shed for Liverpool Road Station, the world’s first purpose-built passenger railway station. The building houses Europe’s largest collection of working steam engines, the majority of which were built in Manchester.
The project will take two years, with the Power Hall reopening in summer 2021.
Sally MacDonald, director of the Science & Industry Museum, said: “The Power Hall is one of our most evocative and impressive galleries. The sound of the machines working, and the whistle and smell of the steam as it drives them, is a truly incredible experience and one that we know our visitors love. This project will allow us to not only carry out much-needed repairs, but also transform the Power Hall into a multi-sensory gallery showing how Manchester provided the power that changed the city and the world – from the way we work to the consumer society we live in.
“The Power Hall will be a place where everyone can enjoy sharing a visit, find in-depth stories, and have a great experience. And you’ll be able to see how we keep them running too – we’re opening up our workshop areas, so you’ll be able to see our team working on the exhibits.”
The Power Hall project is part of a package of works under way at the museum. Repairs are set to take place on the grade one-Listed 1830 Warehouse, the world’s oldest surviving railway goods warehouse, and the grade two-listed New Warehouse.
Planning permission has also recently been granted for a Special Exhibition Gallery on the lower ground floor of the New Warehouse, to host visiting science exhibitions and events associated with the Manchester Science Festival.
The Science & Industry Museum is on the site of the former Liverpool Road Station which was the termination point of the Liverpool-Manchester Railway. Among its buildings are the world’s first passenger railway station and the oldest existing railway goods warehouse. In total there are two grade one-listed buildings and four grade two-listed buildings on the site.