More than one hundred historic sites in Greater Manchester are neglected and at risk according to English Heritage
The Heritage at Risk Register, published annually by English Heritage, identifies listed buildings and historic sites most at risk of loss or decay. It focuses attention on those that need help and targets resources to where they can make the most difference.
This year twenty buildings in Greater Manchester, including the architectural gem, Long Street Methodist Church, Middleton, have been added to the national Heritage at Risk Register.
Across the North West fifty seven sites have been added to the Register because of concerns about their condition, while fifty have been repaired and removed from the Register, their future secured.
Over the year more than £880,000 has been offered in grants by English Heritage to help some of the North West’s best loved and most important historic sites.
Trevor Mitchel, English Heritage Planning and Conservation Director for the North West said,
“As Manchester’s economy grows along with demand for new homes, now is the time to tackle our neglected heritage, turning eyesores back into landmarks. Buildings like London Road Fire Station and Long Street Methodist Church not only give quality and distinctiveness to their surroundings, but can meet local needs and deliver economic growth. We want to spend at least one million pounds on Heritage at Risk next year and are looking for partners and projects.”
Long Street Methodist Sunday School and Church in Middleton, Rochdale, by the innovative Manchester architect, Edgar Wood, is in a grave condition and needs significant repairs. The leaded windows are failing and stone slates are falling from the roof, causing rot, damp and mould growth.
Regular but limited maintenance is carried out by committed volunteers but, unfortunately, the roof has reached such a poor state that the complete re-roofing is likely to be needed. The building, which is now owned by the Heritage Trust for the North West, really needs the support of the local community to bring it back into full use.
But the news is not all bad. The home of Victorian novelist, Elizabeth Gaskell, has been brought back to life following a lengthy campaign led by the Manchester Historic Buildings Trust. English Heritage provided technical advice and over £300,000 in grants.
The site has been removed from the At Risk register and is now open to the public as a high quality visitor attraction. The restored interior now evokes the atmosphere of the 1860’s when Mrs Gaskell lived and worked in the house and also provides office and community space.