First glimpses of restored town hall as countdown to opening gets underway

Councillors Janet Emsley and Daniel Meredith.
From left to right: Councillors Janet Emsley and Daniel Meredith in the restored town hall.

The countdown to the reopening of Rochdale Town Hall is officially on, with experts busy putting in place the final touches of its multi-million pound, National Lottery-supported restoration.

Work on the Grade I-listed building’s extensive historic spaces is now a whisker away from completion, with the town hall set to reopen to the public on Sunday, 3 March 2024.

This week (commencing Monday, 11 December 2023), to mark the occasion, councillors stepped inside to see the dramatic transformation first hand.

The incredible project, which is being supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with money raised by National Lottery players, has changed the face of one of the North West’s most well-known buildings, which first opened in 1871.

The multi-million pound project has restored the historic fabric of Rochdale Town Hall

A team of experts and volunteers have come together to restore the building’s incredible rooms and reopen spaces that were previously hidden from public view, creating a completely new offer for residents and visitors.

The changes include:

  • The restoration of the historic fabric of the building’s rooms, including the great hall, the reception rooms and the mayor’s parlour.
  • The restoration of a room previously used as office space to create a brand new community and events space, known as the ‘Bright Hall’.
  • The repair and cleaning of much of the building’s stained glass, painted surfaces, Minton floor tiles and intricate stonework.
  • The creation of a brand new permanent exhibition space, known as the ‘Welcome Gallery’, which has been co-created with members of the Rochdale community and tells the story of Rochdale, its history and its people. The exhibition will feature interactives and films, as well as a mixture of historic artefacts and meaningful items donated by residents.

The almost 500 volunteers who have been part of the restoration will also be granted an early look inside the space which they worked so hard to help transform.

Final preparation for opening is now underway, with tour guides being trained on site

Over the next couple of months, the final preparation for opening will get under way. This will include training an army of enthusiastic tour guides whose job it will be to tell the story of this incredible space, including its recent restoration, to the building’s future visitors. In addition, work to create the town hall’s brand new restaurant, The Martlet, will continue at pace.

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for equity, safety and reform, said:

“The town hall holds a special place in the hearts of our residents and I know people are intrigued to know what’s been happening since its doors first closed in 2020. It’s been a real honour to see some of these spaces, alongside our many volunteers, whose contribution to this project has been immeasurable.


“This project is about much more than restoring these incredible rooms and details. It’s about creating a completely new offer for visitors and giving this building back to the people of the borough, to whom it ultimately belongs. I’m delighted to say that they will be able to see it in just a few short months. It will certainly be worth the wait. ”

Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“It’s incredibly exciting news that we are fast approaching the opening of the magnificent Rochdale Town Hall following its extensive restoration. Here at the Heritage Fund, we’re extremely proud to have supported the ambitious project, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.


“We know that heritage has a huge role to play in furthering a sense of pride in place, and our investment in the restoration of the Town Hall will not only contribute towards the strong sense of place that the community already feel for Rochdale, but it will also have a hugely positive impact on the wider regeneration of the town.”

Rochdale Town hall will reopen to the public on Sunday, 3 March 2024

The redevelopment of Rochdale Town Hall is being delivered by Rochdale Development Agency (RDA) on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council. Restoration work will continue in 2024 to restore the west wing of the building, which includes the council chamber and public gallery. 

The town hall will re-open to the public on Sunday, 3 March 2024.

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Published: 14th December 2023