Purcell have been appointed as Architects for the £330 million refurbishment of the Grade I Listed Manchester Town Hall. The careful repairs and interventions will bring the Alfred Waterhouse building up to modern access and safety standards while transforming its visitor experience.

Our team are restoring the Great Hall and its Ford Madox Brown mural while undertaking extensive external repairs. The project is due for completion in 2024 and will ensure the longevity of the building and increase accessibility while future-proofing it for generations to come.


Manchester Town Hall was designed by Alfred Waterhouse in 1877 and is a Victorian, neo-Gothic building which sits in the heart of Manchester. The £330m project aims to transform the town hall back to its former civic glory and involves the repair of internal and external deficits, while renewing building services and improving accessibility and visitor experience.

This includes replacing the entire wiring and plumbing throughout the building and adding modern facilities, including communication links, which will make the building far more functional, sustainable and easier to maintain.

Our aim is to bring the town hall back to the cultural heart of Manchester as a flagship destination. We are enjoying working closely with Manchester City Council and our project partners.

Mark Goldspink, CEO
Our Town Hall

Throughout the project, our team have carried out extensive research into the building which has led to a detailed understanding of its history, building technology and heritage significance. A detailed survey has been undertaken both internally and externally to determine the necessary repairs.

Design proposals

Our desktop and visual surveys have been used to develop proposals for the electrics, ICT, lighting, heating, ventilation and acoustics which respect the historic function of the building whilst increasing efficiency and lowering the carbon footprint. This has enabled our project team to effectively understand the capacity for change and informed our design solutions and conservation philosophy.

The work required to repair and upgrade the Town Hall will demand real expertise and dedication, so we have selected our consultants with great care. We look forward to working with them on this once-in-a-lifetime project, which will secure and enhance the long-term future of Manchester’s treasured civic centrepiece.

Visitor Experience

The Town Hall’s visitor experience will be transformed by providing a dedicated exhibition space featuring the Town Hall’s collection which explores the history of the building. This area will also accommodate guided tours for visitors to understand the building’s heritage and Manchester’s history. As preparation for this, the Town Hall’s collection has been fully catalogued prior to storage and will be conserved before being re-displayed to the public.

The project is blossoming from the benefit of a collaborative and multidisciplinary team which has informed the final design. Since the beginning of the project, many educational programmes including a number of apprenticeships have developed and our team continues to be committed to enhancing skills and opportunities for local people which has been central to the project from the very start.

Purcell has realised our vision for the project exceptionally well. The creative and intellectual input is first class, and you respond to the many challenges we throw at you with good grace and a commitment to always deliver, often to demanding deadlines.