Manchester Town Hall


Location: The Albert Square Conservation Area, Manchester

Client: Manchester City Council

Type of Project: Comprehensive reconditioning and Repair

Role: Heritage consultants and advisors from inception; architects for Phases 0, 1 & 2 RIBA, including initial and final Feasibility Study and Surveys, Option Studies, and detailed Surveys for refurbishment and adaptation.

Date: 2013-2016

Cost: £330m





Manchester Town Hall (Grade I listed) was designed by Alfred Waterhouse in a free Gothic style and built between 1868 and 1877. It is internationally acknowledged as an exemplar of its typology. Designed to fit a triangular island site, with three main ranges enclosing a triangular courtyard. The courtyard at the centre of the building is mostly filled by a rectangular Great Hall which contains outstanding mural paintings of the city by Ford Madox Brown.

Project Proposal:

The Feasibility Study project commenced in May 2013, as a progression of the Town Hall complex ‘Transformation programme’ which aims to secure the conservation and optimum viable use of the City’s nationally important heritage assets.

Scope of Professional Services:

Since 2013 Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture Ltd (“SLHA”) have been the heritage lead within a multi-disciplinary team to identify design and task options for the repair and enhancement of the Grade-I listed Town Hall building. The 2013 feasibility study identified those works necessary to secure the fabric and maintain the building in a good physical state, as well as considering options for improvements that could be undertaken to enhance its operational use. Following the initial studies, approval was given in 2014 to undertake a series of detailed surveys and investigations. SLHA undertook a condition survey of the external elevations, link bridges, roof, and State Rooms. An inventory of the historic furniture was also produced; and this involved collaboration with a specialist collections curator to develop a retention and disposals strategy. SLHA also produced a Heritage Conservation Management Plan for the building which was used to frame decisions on maintenance and development options. A consultation strategy with Historic England was also developed and implemented. The work data and information was then used to carry out the procurement process for production.