1830 warehouse
The 1830 warehouse is used for exhibitions and as an events space

Science Museum continues urgent repairs across listed estate

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The Science & Industry Museum in Manchester has been granted permission to start repair work on the grade one-listed 1830 warehouse, the world’s oldest surviving railway goods warehouse.

The museum’s estate on Liverpool Road is the site of the former Liverpool Road Station, which was the termination point of the Liverpool-Manchester Railway. Its buildings include the world’s first passenger railway station and 1830 warehouse, as well as four grade two-listed structures.

Studio Downie Architects was appointed by the museum in 2018 to conduct surveys across its buildings. According to the application for works to the 1830 warehouse, the internal and external repairs are required “to prevent weather ingress and deterioration of the building fabric”.

The architect also delivered a survey of the grade two-listed Power Hall which is currently closed to the public.

Studio Downie said the work on the 1830 warehouse was needed “to avoid a repeat of the serious build-up of maintenance, fabric damage and safety issues experienced on the Power Hall – particularly the roof where general monitoring access is not possible and led to its closure.”

The Power Hall, which houses Europe’s largest collection of working steam engines, is now undergoing an extensive restoration programme to allow it to re-open in summer 2021.

The urgently-needed work on the roof was funded by £6m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

The 1830 warehouse also needs work on its roof, which due to its size was the subject of a separate planning application.

According to the architect’s statement: “The works to the 1830 warehouse are necessary firstly to ensure an appropriate health and safety environment for visitors and staff of the museum; and secondly the longevity and continued utility of the heritage asset as part of the museum experience, by halting the continued degradation of the building which will continue if not resolved now.”

The building is used to host exhibitions and can be hired for conferences and events.

This latest phase of restoration is part of a wider investment in the Science & Industry Musuem estate. As well as the Power Hall works, a £5m project is ongoing to convert part of the 1882 grade two-listed New Warehouse into a special exhibitions gallery, designed by Carmody Groarke and being built by HH Smith & Sons.

Heritage Collective is also advising the museum.

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