The fire crew who helped save the historic Wythenshawe Hall from fire devastation have visited the home a year on as work begins to repair the roof and exterior.
The fire could have been end for the much-loved building had it not been for the heroic efforts of Greater Manchester Fire Services officers, who battled through a March night last year to prevent the destruction of the largely timber-framed medieval hall.
Despite these efforts, the fire caused a large amount of damage to the roof and several key rooms at the hall, and smoke damage through large portions of the property.
Conlon Construction have been chosen to begin the repair work with a team of sub-contractors who have the necessary heritage experience to tackle the mammoth task in Wythenshawe, following their work at Heaton Hall in North Manchester.
Since the fire last year, archaeologists and conservation architects have combed through the hall to save as much original material as possible.
Hundreds of artefacts have been recovered and catalogued prior to the major repair work starting on site.
The philosophy of the repair project is to retain and repair as much original material as possible.
A repair programme and the necessary planning applications for the interior repairs of Wythenshawe Hall will be developed in the coming months.
Returning to Wythenshawe Hall a year after the fire, Group Manager Pete Lamb of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, commented: “It was so rewarding for all of us who fought the fire to come back and see the progress that has been made with the restoration work and the sheer effort and will of all those involved to restore this magnificent historic building to its former glory.
“It was a sad sight when we arrived on that night and we did all we possibly could to stop the fire from spreading although at times it seemed the battle could be lost.
“It has given us real pleasure to know that our efforts were not in vain and I feel so pleased that we could play our part in saving this piece of history for future generations.”
Cllr Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said “It has been gruelling year for the teams that have worked to secure the future of the building and save as: “It’s fantastic that the first phase of the major repair works is now on site following a much of the hall’s original artefacts and character as possible.
“One year on from the fire it’s been a pleasure to welcome the fire fighters who are responsible for saving the property from desolation. They put their lives on the line to preserve Wythenshawe Hall and we – along with countless generations of Mancunians past and future – owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
Chair of the Friends of Wythenshawe Hall, Richard Jackson, said: “The Friends of Wythenshawe Hall remember the great job done by Manchester Fire & Rescue a year ago. Now we are excited to know that serious reconstruction work is about to commence at Wythenshawe Hall very soon, and we are planning, preparing, and looking forward to the day when we can open the Hall to welcome visitors again.”