Victoria Station in Manchester has had a number of changes and extensions since it was built in the 1800s, and its most recent transformation may have been the most ambitious to date.
The faded glory of the Grade II listed station building was in dire need of being brought into the 21st Century. In my role of of associate conservation architect at BDP and subsequently as director of BB Heritage Studio, I provided the conservation and built heritage advice for the works.
Refreshing refreshment rooms
As well as advising on the overall proposals, providing an early stage Conservation Statement and drafting the Heritage Assessment for Planning and Listed Building Consent Purposes, I also led the scope for specialist repairs to the refreshment rooms within the Grade II listed station building.
The interiors of these rooms are the most architecturally significant spaces within the station, but had been altered over the years and fallen into disrepair. The rooms contained carved and panelled oak, mosaic floor and wall tiles, glazed walls tiles, and painted, moulded plaster to walls and ceilings. All were suffering from decay.
Specialist repair, dramatic transformation
I led a series of specialist investigation works, including historic paint sampling, timber condition surveys and detailed condition assessments to the interiors. These focused on the glazed dome structure, stained glass, external terracotta, faience, granite and stone masonry.
The results of these informed and defined the detailed scope of the repair works. Studies were also undertaken into the potential uses for the spaces.
The repair works resulted in a dramatic transformation of the spaces, enabling the original architectural intent to be visible for the first time in decades and bringing the areas back into active use.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin described the project as “remarkable”, adding: “It’s now a symbol of opportunity, not neglect.”