Having been previously unsuccessful in their HLF R1 funding applications, the council approached us to evaluate the previous bids and create a masterplan for the visitor experience, including an interpretive strategy and concept designs. The refreshed application totalling just less than £9m was successfully awarded development phase funding in July 2018.
This impressive gothic-revival Victorian building takes an imposing position in the heart of the town centre but for many years has been used for civic functions and offices. Primarily only open to the public through organised tours, the ambition for its future is to bring it back into community use by opening up the historic spaces and presenting the stories of a diverse community with a shared heritage through a dedicated exhibition area. We worked closely with the full HLF bid team, including the client, the local museum and archive centre, project manager, architect, business planner and activity planner. The interpretive approach and concept designs took into account all of these influences to ensure a holistic and integrated application.
Our designs considered the impact of commercial events included in the business plan, accounting for flexibility and alternative ways of delivering interpretation if spaces were closed due to events. We also worked closely with the activity planner to ensure that the interpretive designs complemented educational activities, including plans for the development phase post HLF 1 award and also ongoing educational and activity requirements after completion.
We are delighted that this beautiful and historically important building once again has opportunity to shine at the heart of civic pride in Rochdale.