|Hyde Town Hall||Manchester||Restoration & Install team (Yorkshire & West Division)||2015||£60K|
So what’s the connection between Hyde Town Hall and Venice? It’s certainly not canals, especially when you compare Hyde’s Lower Peak Forest canal’s 6.9 miles to Venice’s 30 miles. The answer is the Architecture Biennale held every two years in the Italian city of Venice.
And the connection with Hyde Town Hall? When Tameside Council started its extensive renovation programme aimed at bringing major landmarks back to life, they approached IWP Dansk to undertake repairs to the windows frames and allied fittings to Hyde Town Hall, a building that needed a new roof and was riddled with dry rot.
However, one of the criteria laid down by the Council for the refurbishment of both the internal and external fabric was that all fittings had to match the original ones. It was essential that not only did the refurbishment bring the buildings into the 21st Century, with a state of the art conference centre, refurbished ballroom and purpose built assembly chamber, but that the history of the building was not lost during its redevelopment.
Hyde Town Hall was officially opened in 1863 and like most civic buildings of its time, was a reflection of the town’s prosperity. The town’s fortunes were built on cotton. During the 18th and 19th Century, there were up to 40 cotton mills in the area employing many thousands of people including young children who had to endure the harshest of working conditions. To commemorate this, the clock tower bell is known as Owd Joss (old Josh) and is named after Joshua Bradley, a former mill child worker.
On Saturday 30th June 1883, amid great pomp and ceremony, the Mayor, Thomas Ashton, surrounded by the local population, estimated to be over 3000 people, laid the foundation stone underneath which he buried a tin box containing a copy of the Borough Charter, copies of the local newspapers, council minutes and a handful of coins. The official ceremony was also marked with the firing of a cannon and the playing of the Hallelujah Chorus by the amassed bands.
So what’s the connection with Venice?
Every other year, the Venetians hold their Architecture Biennale – a window on the world of the architect and property designer. In 2014, Britain’s national museum of architectural detail, the Brooking Collection featured prominently, with their collection of windows and fittings.
For everyone who has an interest in architectural history, the collection gives an insight into the evolution of window and door ironmongery and fittings from the 16th Century right up to the modern day. So where better place to research the specific needs of Hyde Town Hall than the Architecture Biennale.
Using this information, IWP Dansk was able to accurately reproduce the cast brass handles, stay pegs and bars to perfectly match the original.The company also repaired 100 stain glass windows and all thanks to a visit to Venice.