The restoration of fire-damaged Wythenshawe Hall has been named as a 2021 Civic Trust AABC Conservation Awards Regional Finalist.
Grade II* listed Wythenshawe Hall sits in registered parkland in South Manchester. The two-storey oak-framed core dates from the 1540s and was originally home to the Tattons, one of Cheshire’s noble families. In 2016, the hall was victim to an arson attack and was extensively damaged in the ensuing fire, with significant loss of fabric in some of the oldest parts of the building.
We were immediately engaged by the owner, Manchester City Council, to design and deliver a strategy of repair that would reclaim and reinstate the building.
Throughout the three-year restoration programme, our approach was underpinned by a bespoke conservation philosophy, tailored to the building and its historic significance, while responding to the fingerprint left by the fire.
Wherever possible, surviving historic features have been retained and repaired with bespoke remedial solutions used to strengthen at-risk features. Where no structural integration remained, the decision was made to introduce new structures, with a purposeful choice in material ensuring that new can clearly be read against the original.
The building was re-roofed in slate, new structural oak frames crafted to replace those lost, and external lime plaster walls reinstated.
Internal works included the restoration of decorative plasterwork ceilings with lost detail replicated in lime plaster. Wall paintings dating from 16th century have also been assessed by specialists and stabilised.
Stained glass windows melted by the fire have been handcrafted, replacing lost panels with new, while incorporating as much original glass as possible.
Each stage of the restoration has been informed by extensive research and analysis commissioned and managed by the practice, including plaster surveys, paint analysis, stained glass analysis, mortar analysis, plaster make-up analysis and dry-rot surveys and monitoring.
Established in 2014, the Civic Trust AABC Conservation Award is made to a project which demonstrates the highest standards of historic building conservation. Wythenshawe Hall is one of just 11 schemes to be named conservation regional finalists and will receive either an Award or Commendation in January.