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One of Greater Manchester’s finest buildings £9m development complete

After undergoing a huge redevelopment, Rochdale's historic Town Hall, supported by an £8.9m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, is set to reopen on March 3rd.
Rochdale Town Hall

The redevelopment of Rochdale Town Hall has been revealed, with support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s £8.9m grant.

Rochdale Town Hall, considered one of the North West’s finest historic buildings, will be back open in a matter of weeks.

Rochdale Town Hall

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The Grade I Listed building, which has stood proudly in the town centre since 1871, will have many of its historic features restored as well as brand new community spaces in rooms which were previously not open to the public.

The town hall doors have been closed since the scheme began back in 2020, but now it is just a few weeks to go until they reopen to the public on Sunday 3rd March. Images of the spectacular spaces can now be revealed for the first

What’s new?

Great Hall Ceiling Rochdale
Absolutely spectacular

The Great Hall saw the most dramatic changes, with the restoration of the 350 panels which cover the room’s ceiling, unveiling the beautiful designs of red and gold and intricate features on each panel, including the English lions and Scottish thistle.

Specialists used a variety of equipment, including cotton wool buds, to remove years of grime which made the tiles appear dark brown, with the details of the panels being visible for the first time in decades.

In the Exchange, at the main entrance of the building, Minton floor tiles have been repaired, depicting a hanging fleece and other insignia of Rochdale.

Many other features have been restored and returned to their former glory including the vaulted ceiling, the marble and granite sweeping staircase, stained glass windows, painted surfaces and wood panelling, and furniture.

One new standout feature of the restored town hall is the creation of brand-new community spaces in the building, which were previously closed off from the public.

Rochdale Town Hal
The Bright Hall

A room on the first floor, which was previously used as office space, will now become the ‘Bright Hall’, named after the late Rochdale-born MP and social reformer John Bright.

The space has had its partition walls and mezzanine floor removed to reveal a double-height ceiling, angels along the
walls and a previously hidden window with views directly down into the Great Hall.

The room will now be used by community groups and for events.

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The ground floor will now also be the ‘Welcome Gallery’ home. The room that was previously used for council meetings has been transformed into a permanent exhibition space, which tells the story of Rochdale, its people, and its past, through objects, interactives, and imagery.

The Town Hall’s history

Town Hall Dinner

Rochdale formed as a new borough in 1856 and the corporation wanted a fitting new civic building to mark it.

A competition was then held to find the architect and William H Crossland from Huddersfield was chosen to build the Rochdale Town Hall.

It ultimately opened in 1871, however only 12 years later in 1983, the clock tower was destroyed in a catastrophic fire.

The clock tower was then rebuilt by the creator of the Manchester Town Hall and Natural History Museum- Alfred
Waterhouse and stands at a whopping 190 feet tall.

The organ that stands in the Great Hall also holds much history- originally being installed over 110 years ago in 1913. George V and Queen Mary were present for the opening recital on the grand instrument in July of that year.

The Exchange in the building was designed as a place for businesses to trade however unusually this never ended up taking place. This makes it even more bizarre that the stained-glass window on the main stairs depicts these businesses and highlights Rochdale’s place in the global trading industry.

Rochdale Town Hall sit in the top 2.5 per cent of buildings nationally due to its Grade I listing and the Great Hall features all of England’s royalty as well as the Magna Carta.

The building throughout its time has housed a police station, a magistrate’s court, a fire station and even a library.

You can find out more about Rochdale Town Hall and its history by clicking here

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