Dryrot Treatments Gives New Lease of Life to Historic Town Hall


A Grade II Listed Building constructed in 1841 and disused since the 1980s is set to receive a new lease of life as a fully-modernised leisure complex featuring shops, bars, restaurants and a cinema. Oldham Town Hall, built in the Georgian neo-classical style with an elaborate portico modelled on an ancient Greek temple, is a truly iconic building though has suffered severe decay and damage to its interior during its unoccupied years.

Oldham Town Hall's long and colourful history, which most notably included Winston Churchill making his inaugural acceptance speech on the steps there in 1900 before, on VE Day, he was to be seen waving from the window to the gathered crowds. A Blue Plaque was hung there to commemorate Churchill's presence but, other than this, no work was done to the building from the moment it stopped being used during the mid-1980s.

This almost-wilful neglect naturally caused major structural consequences for the period property. In September of 2008, after concerns as to the building's condition were raised, local councillors, along with invited media and structural specialists, conducted an inspection, concluding that Oldham Town Hall appeared to be 'months away from a major collapse' as masonry chunks fell from ceilings 'on a daily basis' and dry rot had caused the building to start 'literally rotting away'. A year later, architectural preservation and heritage charity The Victorian Society made the grim observation that, in their informed opinion, Oldham Town Hall was 'the most endangered Victorian structure in England and Wales'.

During the years Oldham Town Hall stood empty, there were a number of applications made and projects planned to renovate the property. It was, however, not until May of 2012 that the current leisure complex plans were revealed and work is now progressing rapidly.

The main contractor on the project is Robinson's Preservation, a building preservation and restoration firm with a history dating back over more than 50 instructive years to its establishment in 1956. Now a leading force in the field of architectural restoration, the company have worked on projects of a diverse range of scales, achieving equally-great success on everything from castles to cottages. Many well-known buildings, such as Shrewsbury Cathedral, Chetham's Library and Victoria Baths, have all benefited greatly from the unique skills of Robinson's Preservation.

Once complete, the new leisure complex will bring a wealth of new and much-needed job opportunities to the area as well as providing a meeting place for residents and a magnet for visitors from surrounding areas; all of these factors will considerably benefit Oldham’s economy. Wykamol are working closely with all concerned parties to ensure the renovation project is completed to its highest possible level of quality so that it will offer a long and productive service life to the building and its users.

As well as providing Robinson's Preservation with an eclectic collection of our materials, the Wykamol team are also on hand both at the site and remotely to offer expert advice on the sympathetic repair of Oldham's historic Town Hall.

12th June 2014, 10:57
Page updated 26th Jun 2014, 08:54
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