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Old photos could unlock key to town hall restoration

Press release   •   Nov 07, 2013 16:42 GMT

Rochdale residents could play a key role in the restoration of the Town Hall simply by flicking through their old photo albums.

Specialists from Hirst Conservation have been busy restoring the exchange but have been unable to repair the carved heads above the doors because they don’t have a record of what they looked like before they were damaged.

The intricate carvings appear above committee rooms one and two in the exchange, which is the entrance room at the town hall. The conservationists have been busy looking through the archives but have so far drawn a blank.

The work is part of ongoing repairs to the town hall, which sits in illustrious company as one of just 4 per cent of listed buildings in the whole of the UK which are Grade-I Listed.

To date, the specialists have removed paint from the walls, cleaned and repaired stonework and restored the minton tiles on the floor. The final phase is to restore the decoration including the carved heads.

This painstaking project compliments the ongoing work to restore the roof, which is being overseen by English Heritage, and which, alongside the other improvements, will help pave the way for the results of a feasibility study to determine future uses for the building.

Councillor Jacqui Beswick, Cabinet Member for Place at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “We’re all rightly very proud of our town hall but like most older models it needs a bit of TLC from time to time, which is why we’ve commissioned this important work.

“We’re appealing for members of the public to send us any pictures they have of these marvellous carvings before they were damaged so we can return them to their former glory. Pictures can be emailed to Dorothy Johnstone or dropped off at the town hall reception.”

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