Freemasons Hall


Location: Manchester

Client: Wiselight Manchester Ltd

Date: 2016

SLHA Role: Historic Building Advisor and Planning Consultant

Architect: SHED

Further to the applications by the East Lancashire Masonic Trust (the Landlord), to change the existing use of the Grade II listed Freemasons Hall, SLHA acted as heritage and planning consultants in regards to a Listed Building Consent application for the interior design scheme for Fable Restaurant, a new high end restaurant and bar concept.

Fable’s unit is in the double-height central hall of the building – a striking architectural space designed by Thomas Worthington & Sons in 1927-29.  The spaces previously identified for back-of-house, within the Landlord’s scheme, were not fit for purpose; consequently, the LBC application proposed the re-location of the toilets in the basement to free up additional space for use as kitchen space.

As well as proposed redecoration, the LBC application proposed to make the restaurant unit visually and acoustically independent – in line with being an exclusive high-end offer.

As well as free-standing furniture and associated units (waiter stations etc), the main hall space will have large art work suspended from the double-height ceiling space. It is also proposed to have full-height light boxes at each end of the main hall, providing striking interior design and emphasising the axial arrangement of the room.

The key principles that have driven the design proposals are reversibility and minimal intervention, to minimise the impact on the historic fabric of the Grade II listed building. Heritage Architecture have worked with the project team to ensure that all proposed interventions can be removed and the space returned as existing, should this ever be required.