People are being encouraged to visit Manchester Town Hall in the coming months ahead of its temporary closure to enable works to safeguard the much-loved building for future generations to take place.
It has been confirmed that the Grade I-listed building – which is structurally sound but seriously showing its age – will close from Monday 15 January 2018 until the completion in 2024 of the Our Town Hall project to refurbish, repair and partially restore the building.
To give everyone a chance to visit the building before it closes behind-the-scenes tours showcasing the building and explaining the rationale for the works will continue. For further information, tour start times and to book, visit www.mcrtownhall-bts.eventtbrite.com Mancunians and visitors are encouraged to take this unique opportunity to visit the parts of the building which are not always ordinarily accessible to them. The last day before the temporary closure, Sunday 14 January, will feature an open day giving the public a last chance to see inside the Town Hall in person until it reopens again in 2024.
An update on the Our Town Hall project’s progress is being given in a report to the Council’s Executive which meets on 13 September 2017 – 140 years to do the day since the Town Hall was officially opened.
When the building reopens it will be more accessible to the public with more of its many civic treasures on public display to help tell the city’s story; meet modern access and safety standards and have better energy efficiency. Albert Square, which hosts a huge range of events from Christmas Markets and sporting victory celebrations to more sombre occasions such as vigils will also be protected and improved.
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 fascinating 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 will relocate to the Royal Exchange building on Cross Street/St Ann’s Square from spring 2018 and will continue to operate in the Town Hall until then.
Councillor 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.”