Manchester Science Museum gantry repair, P, Buttress, Drew Forsyth

Repair work is getting underway at Manchester's Science and Industry Museum. Credit: Buttress / Drew Forsyth.

Science and Industry Museum’s £14m viaduct and gantry repairs to start

HH Smith has been appointed as the contractor on the major heritage restoration project to refurbish symbols of Manchester’s industrial past.

Conservation work led by architect Buttress is to get underway on the multi-million-pound restoration programme across Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum site.

Work is expected to be complete by spring 2025 when the museum, which will remain open throughout, has plans to reopen Power Hall.

Scaffolding is being installed around the gantry and waterproofing solutions are also being placed across the 1830 Viaduct.

The museum has received £14.2m of national capital funding from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to complete urgent repairs across New Warehouse, the gantry and the 1830 Viaduct.

The 1830 Viaduct is part of the site’s original railway station, which opened in September 1830. It now needs repairing to reverse historic water ingress and protection from a predicted increase in rainfall over the coming years.

Along with waterproofing, the repairs will include the temporary removal of track and ballast allowing the museum to undertake secondary surveys of the water damage and work needed, drainage of water currently trapped across the Viaduct.

Essential repairs to the gantry include stripping old paint to care for the metal structure, removing rust and repairing areas impacted by water damage.

Structural repairs will also take place on the metal work including infilling areas after rust and corrosion has been fixed.

Waterproofing measures will also be introduced to protect the gantry from any further water damage, including canopies above the southern end to divert rainwater after which, it will be repainted.

Sally MacDonald, director of the Science and Industry Museum, said: “We are so excited that another stage of the site’s multi-million-pound restoration project is underway.

“The gantry is an iconic structure in Castlefield’s skyline and we’re looking forward to repairing and restoring it for generations to come. The 1830 Viaduct also plays such an important part in telling the story of our historic site in connecting Manchester with the wider world.

“This work may cause some disruption which we will try to keep to a minimum, but we hope visitors continue to enjoy visiting the museum where they can see live engineering and innovation in action as we continue to care for our historic site.”

Alex Scrimshaw of Buttress said: “Being part of this significant restoration project at the Science and Industry Museum is a privilege for us. Contributing to the preservation of Manchester’s significant industrial heritage through the repair work on the iconic gantry and 1830 Viaduct is truly rewarding.

“This effort, alongside ongoing restoration work across the site, underscores our dedication to safeguarding historic landmarks for future generations. We look forward to seeing these structures restored to their former glory, standing as testaments to Manchester’s pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution.”

This work will dovetail with repairs to other buildings across the site, including the New Warehouse and Upper Yard.

This includes the refurb of Power Hall and decarbonisation work.

At the 1830 Station, an interactive Wonderlab gallery is being created for young visitors, along with a connecting route through to Aviva Studios, and fresh outdoor landscaping and provision for outdoor play.


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