Middlesbrough Town Hall, a key symbol of the town’s historic prosperity, is a grade II* listed building built between 1883 and 1889. Its transformation has reinvented the building as a profitable modern entertainment, education and civic venue attracting some of the UK’s biggest live acts, music events and arts whilst simultaneously restoring its bygone grandeur. Years of coarse modifications have been peeled back to reveal stunning original features and create flexible and inspirational spaces for modern use.
The building originally served as an important civic, judicial and community development containing a concert hall, police drill hall, horse and cart fire station, court room with holding cells, a crypt and extensive municipal areas. The passage of time resulted in many of the building’s uses becoming redundant whilst 120 years of use had taken its toll.
Over 45 different trades worked on site, including our sister company Atkins as architectural lead, all with a real focus on the heritage of the building which had been lost for years. The intention was to restore it to its former glory, as accurately and sensitively as possible. The project involved:
• Contributing to the sustainable future use and longer-term preservation of the town hall by improving its viability as a flagship cultural venue, as well as heritage asset.
• Improving/restoring and bringing back into use spaces of heritage significance.
• Developing new activities for engagement with, participation in and learning about heritage in both new and restored spaces.
• Revealing the full heritage significance of Middlesbrough Town Hall as an iconic physical representation of the town/wider Teesside area’s historical and industrial heritage.
Major conservation achievements included:
• Careful removal of cladding in the Courtroom revealing an existing stained-glass ceiling. It was painstakingly restored, and a bespoke artificial day lighting system installed in the roof void to fully showcase its historical beauty.
• Unique features such as Dennet & Ingle concrete vaulted ceilings were exposed, ornate lime plaster, stone and cornicing repaired, wrought ironwork replicated and subterranean steels exposed.
• Paint samples from 128 years ago were examined, to make sure the exact same colours were used in the restoration.
• The Westmoreland slate roof has been relayed and ornate leadwork replaced, while throughout the project contractors experimented with using its stockpile of stripped-out old materials to try to solve problems on site.
To help deliver this unique project, Faithful+Gould provided cost management services on the project from RIBA Stage 2 to completion, which included both pre-contract and post contract commercial services and contract administration.
Once complete, the town hall immediately became a stunning reminder of Middlesbrough's proud industrial heritage; the project team has successfully protected and respected its past, and the restoration will allow it to continue to stand as an important local landmark for the community. It is truly symbolic of local resilience, new growth and ambitions.