Wythenshawe Hall Fire

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Since the fire at the Hall on 15th March 2016, an emergency tarpaulin has been used to protect the building while essential structural and archaeological works were completed inside.

Wythenshawe Hall fire

Workmen survey the interior

 

Wythenshawe Hall fire

Floorboards removed as work starts inside the hall.

 

The installation of the new temporary roof is the final piece of the substantial scaffolding structure that has been erected around the fire damaged area of the Hall and follows weeks of delicate conservation work inside the property.

These works will allow the building to breath and the timber frame to dry out properly and naturally as recommended by historic building specialists, including Historic England.

Wythenshawe Hall fire

The front door, and the area the fire first took hold

As part of this remedial work, the bell tower of the Hall was also craned off in a single piece to allow a seamless covering of the hall’s damaged roof.

The bell tower was rebuilt in the 1950s as part of a programme of repair work and its core is a more contemporary steel framed structure clad in timber. This meant that the tower did not collapse into the building during the fire and resulted in much less damage than would otherwise have been the case.

Wythenshawe Hall fire

An upstairs room showing damage to the ceiling 

Since the fire, engineers have stabilised the property ensuring it is safe to work inside, while a team of archaeologists have been sifting through the debris in the building and recording, protecting and preserving as much original material as possible.

Now the immediate emergency works are well underway, proposals for the long-term recovery of Wythenshawe Hall will be put forward, working closely with the friends’ group and project partners.

Wythenshawe Hall fire

From the front door the firs speed upward damaging this hallway ceiling

Cllr Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “A huge amount of work has already gone into helping protect Wythenshawe Hall, most visibly the scaffold cocoon that is helping to stabilise the damaged areas of the property and will support the new temporary roofing.

Wythenshawe Hall fire

Hallway ceiling damage

“Inside, countless hours have been spent making sure anything that can be saved is saved. Everything from the largest pieces of furniture that were on display in the building, to the smallest artefacts being unearthed by highly-trained archaeologists.

“It will be a long road to recovery for the building, but working with our partners and the friends’ group, we will see Wythenshawe Hall back to its best.”

Wythenshawe Hall fire

Most of the damage internally can be see in his room above the front door

Paul Selby, Deputy Chair of the Friends of Wythenshawe Hall, said: “It’s been a rollercoaster few weeks for the friends’ group, but thankfully we are safe in the knowledge that the Hall has been saved, it is now stable and a dedicated team are on-site salvaging anything and everything that makes the property distinct.

“The hall’s insurance has allowed us to invest in a permanent marquee that will allow our monthly events to continue in the grounds of the Hall, and our ambition is to return to the iconic front of the building as soon as possible.”

Despite the fire, The Friends of Wythenshawe Hall group have continued their open days at the Hall using the nearby Courtyard Café as a temporary venue.

For more information visit: www.wythenshawehall.com

Wythenshawe Hall

Damaged parts are saved, exact copies will be crafted

About the hall:

Wythenshawe Hall is a 16th-century medieval timber-framed historic house and former manor house in Wythenshawe, Manchester, England, five miles south of Manchester city centre in Wythenshawe Park.

Wythenshawe Hall exterior

Wythenshawe Hall wrapped in scaffolding

A pre-1300 charter mentions an enclosed deer park in Wythenshawe where the Tatton family owned land in 1297. Around 1540, Robert Tatton of Chester[2] built Wythenshawe Hall as the Tatton family residence. The timber-framed Tudor house was the home of the family for almost 400 years. and may originally have had a moat. The hall was besieged during the English Civil War over the winter of 1643-44 by Cromwell’s Parliamentarian forces. It was defended by Royalists led by Robert Tatton until the Roundheads brought two cannons to the hall from Manchester, leading to the Royalist surrender on 27 February 1644. After the civil war the Tattons expanded their Wythenshawe estate to about 2,500 acres.

Wythenshawe Hall

Damaged panels lay out so exact replicas can be made

Wythenshawe Hall after the fire
In 1924, Robert Henry Grenville Tatton inherited the Wythenshawe estate. There was interest in the estate and the surrounding area from Manchester Corporation, who wanted land to build a garden suburb, ostensibly to rehouse tenants from slum clearance. By April 1926, Wythenshawe Hall and 250 acres of its surrounding parkland were sold to Ernest Simon and his wife who donated them to Manchester Corporation “to be used solely for the public good”.Later that year, the corporation purchased the rest of the estate. The corporation went on to build one of the largest housing estates in Europe on the land.

Wythenshawe Hall was listed as a Grade II* structure on 25 February 1952.Its former stable block, to the west of the hall, was Grade II listed in 1974.

The roof of the hall and an upper floor were severely damaged by a fire that started at around 3.30 a.m. on 15 March 2016; the clock tower was also damaged by the blaze. On 23 March a man was charged with arson in connection with the fire.

The hall was partially rebuilt between 1795 and 1800 by Lewis Wyatt. It was altered around 1840 possibly by Edward Blore. Additions included a walled garden, an ice house, and glass houses. In the Victorian era the dining room was refurbished and a tenant’s hall/A was added.

Wythenshawe Hall

Damaged parts stored

The timber-framed manor house has a hall with two projecting wings, and a porch and dais bays. The entrance hall (also known as the ante-room) is thought to have previously been a chapel, which was subsequently turned into a billiards room, before becoming an entrance hall in the 1870s

One year anniversary:

The firefighters that helped save the historic building return one year on to see how the restoration is progressing.

UK Fireman at work

A fireman looks out over the roof

In the past year most of the work has been around drying out the wood is a slow natural speed.

Wythenshawe Hall Fire

External wall viewed through the missing roof

The team have also had to sive through all the damaged wood to make sure nothing salvageable was thrown out.

Wythenshawe hall fir damage

An ornate fascia board

Hundreds of artifacts have been recovered and catalogued prior to the major repair work starting on site.

Wythenshawe hall fire

Close up of a damaged area

 

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