The closure date of Manchester’s Town Hall has been confirmed as Monday 15 January, to allow for seven years of restoration work to begin on the grade one-listed building.
Manchester City Council’s £330m ‘Our Town Hall’ project aims to fully repair and upgrade the Town Hall and Albert Square.
A team made up of Purcell, Mace, Ramboll, Planit-IE, Arup, and Faithful + Gould are advising the council.
The Town Hall will be 140 years old this year. Details of the restoration and refurbishment are yet to be defined, but aim to retain and enhance the building as a functioning town hall, while also reducing carbon footprint and energy costs, and maximising commercial opportunities, potentially by releasing part of the building for offices.
People are being encouraged to visit Manchester Town Hall in the coming months ahead of its temporary closure.
An update on the project’s progress is being given in a report to the Council’s executive which meets on 13 September 2017, 140 years to the day since the Town Hall was opened.
During the work, most of the Town Hall’s portable heritage items, such as furniture, paintings, textiles and civic gifts, will be removed and carefully stored off site. A small number of items such as sculptures and plaques will be relocated to other parts of the Town Hall complex so they can remain on public display during the project. An area will also be established for the public to learn more about the Town Hall’s history and the details of the refurbishment and repair project.
Staff and councillors currently based in the building will move for the duration of the works into the Town Hall Extension, with most moving out by Christmas, while the Lord Mayor and his office will move to Central Library from early January 2018. The Coroner’s Court is relocating to around 11,000 sq ft in the Royal Exchange on St Ann’s Square from spring 2018 and will continue to operate in the Town Hall until then.
Cllr Bernard Priest, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “While it will be sad to see the Town Hall building closed for a number of years, it would be infinitely worse if it was allowed to slide into disrepair and decay and parts of it had to start being closed permanently. We simply can’t and won’t allow that to happen which is why we are taking action now to safeguard this gem for current and future generations of Mancunians.
“We are determined that both the Town Hall and Albert Square will continue to play a role at the heart of city life and as internationally important symbols of Mancunian pride.
“Before work begins there are plenty of opportunities for anyone who is familiar with the building to come and have and another look – and for those who aren’t to come and discover what makes it so special.”