Plans for a new attraction at Manchester Town Hall telling the history of the iconic building and showcasing some of its civic treasures have come a long way.
Leading exhibition designers Mather & Co have been appointed by Manchester City Council to oversee the creation of a new ‘visitor experience’ to welcome people to the Grade I listed building when it reopens in 2024.
The Town Hall, which officially opened in 1877, has been closed since 2018 while the Our Town Hall project – one of the biggest heritage projects the UK has ever seen – is underway. The building is being repaired and restored to save it for future generations. At the same time, it is also sympathetically upgraded to meet modern security and access standards.
Part of this vast project is to ensure that the history of City Hall, including the stories of the people who played a role in its long history and the treasure trove of artifacts they left behind , is told in an immersive and interactive way.
The 328 m² exhibition space on the ground floor, accessible by the main entrance from Place Albert, will be free of charge. It will also be possible to explore some of the hidden spaces of the Town Hall which have rarely, if ever, been open to the public, such as the Victorian police cells, the courtyard and the clock tower, during tours guided.
Deputy Head of Council Cllr Luthfur Rahman, Senior Member of Our Town Hall Project, said: “The Our Town Hall project is not just about carefully protecting, preserving and enhancing this Mancunian masterpiece. It is also about making it more inviting and accessible to everyone.
“This new attraction will open up this beloved building as a destination – giving visitors the chance to explore its fascinating heritage, see more of its collections, and learn the fascinating and sometimes surprising stories behind it. It will a welcome addition to Manchester’s varied cultural scene.
“We welcome Mather & Co’s appointment and once their plans are more developed we look forward to sharing more details of what people will be able to see when Manchester Town Hall reopens in 2024.”
Sarah Clarke, Managing Director of Mather & Co, said: “We want visitors of all ages to experience the story of City Hall using their senses, through discovery, experimentation, hidden revelations, exploration and play. We don’t want this experience is a museum, we want to create a memorable experience with personality.”
Mather & Co is a leading design consultancy specializing in museum, leisure, retail and entertainment experiences. Established over 25 years ago, the multidisciplinary consultancy is based in Wilmslow, Cheshire, and has unparalleled experience in the design of exhibitions, museums and tourist attractions, including the R&A World Golf Museum, The Silverstone Experience, The Olympic Museum, Coronation Street: The Tour, York Minster Revealed, Downton Abbey: The Royal Mint Exhibition and Experience.