The initial works to stabilise the building and provide urgent weather proofing have now been completed at the Grade II listed Hopwood Hall.
Jointly funded by Historic England and Rochdale Council, this work has brought the dreams of Hopwood DePree, the American actor, writer and filmmaker, closer to reality.
Named after his ancestors who built the hall, Hopwood has encouraged its owners, Rochdale Council, to repair the hall with the ultimate aim of transforming it into an artistic and cultural venue and forging links with nearby colleges.
The house is Grade II* listed and dates back to the 16th century. It is one of Greater Manchester’s most important remaining halls and the structure which remains today has been added to and updated over the years as fashions changed. The roof trusses, screen passage door, and bay window, of the 16th century hall house are still evident amidst the 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century brick additions. The interior retains wonderful wooden carvings of people and mythical beasts, and a fireplace thought to have been a gift from Lord Byron, a guest in 1811.
Despite the council’s efforts over the years to keep the house weather-tight, it had suffered extreme dry rot, made worse by lead thefts and roof leaks. The building has been on the Heritage at Risk Register since it began in 1998.
Thankfully the caretaker and conservationist Bob Wall continues to ensure that important stitch-in-time maintenance measures, such as ventilating the building, are undertaken. And with the support of Historic England, Bob is currently working with volunteers from a local friends group to undertake repairs to the extensive glazing.