Victoria Baths, Manchester Astley Hall, Chorley

Baguley Hall, Wythenshawe

Unique medieval architecture on the outskirts of Manchester

For Cygnet Historic Buildings Trust we* won a competition to consider the use and repair of this unique C14 Aisled Timber Hall with C15 and C17 wings and larger C19 rear extensions.

Owned by English Heritage, the property is on the Heritage at Risk Register (HAR) and had lain empty for many years after extensive archaeological research and roof replacement had been carried out in the 1980s. Towards the end of the C20 the building was offered for lease, subject to a satisfactory scheme being devised for its re-use.

We carried out a full condition survey, together with obtaining a Geophysical Survey of the immediate area around the Hall buildings. The condition of the timber frame and brickwork was good, but the floor of the Aisled Hall itself was missing as were many first floors. Timber windows were incorrect in style and positioning and plaster work to both wings was poor. Many internal doors were also missing. Full services were required to re-use any of the space. Historic England wanted the Medieval Hall to remain open to the public which effected use here and reduced the lettable area by 20%.

The Trust, working with architects NJR, designed an interesting extension in steel and glass, which was agreed in principle. A reversible solution where all the major services including kitchen and toilets were located, reducing pressure on the historic structure. A tenant was found who was prepared to keep the Medieval Hall open to the public for 364 days a year. Sadly the foot and mouth scare reduced spending and the scheme stalled.

*While partner at Ryder & Dutton