Masses gather as Rochdale Town Hall throws open its doors to the public again

Thousands of people from all walks of life flocked to the Grade I listed building to witness the results of The National Lottery Heritage Fund supported restoration project. The iconic building, which first opened its doors in 1871, shut down in 2020 as experts and over 500 volunteers worked tirelessly to bring back its historic features to their former glory. Key areas throughout the building, including the ceiling panels, stained glass, stonework, wooden surfaces, and the Minton floor tiles were all restored.

Additionally, previously restricted areas are now open to the public, such as the Bright Hall, which has been transformed into a community space for small events. The Welcome Gallery, a permanent exhibition space, now occupies a room that was once used for council meetings. A pop-up café on the first floor and the upcoming permanent restaurant, The Martlet, add to the building’s offerings.

Visitors from Rochdale and beyond enjoyed puppet shows and live music as they explored the stunning space. Dave Mendes Da Costa and his wife Miranda Roszkowski, along with their 10-month-old daughter Jessie, travelled from Halifax to see the renovated building. Dave praised the mix of old and new elements in the building, while local resident Uzma Khan shared her personal connection to the Great Hall where she got married.

Councillor Janet Emsley expressed her delight at the positive response to the town hall reopening, noting the diverse personal connections people have with the building. Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, highlighted the importance of preserving historic buildings like Rochdale Town Hall for future generations.

Visitor experience volunteer Sue Burke, who got involved after retiring, spoke about the public’s enthusiasm for the renovated town hall and the fascinating history behind it. The town hall is now open 7 days a week for visitors to explore and enjoy refreshments in the café. Guided tours will be available in the coming weeks for those seeking a more in-depth experience.

Overall, the town hall restoration project, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered by Rochdale Development Agency on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council, has breathed new life into this historic landmark.

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