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Conservation work on our iconic Old Quad

16 Oct 2012

Five-year, £11 million project to save buildings’ beauty and function

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Work is being carried out to restore buildings in the Old Quad, which date back 139 years.

The first building, John Owens, opened in 1873, followed by the Beyer Laboratory, Manchester Museum, Christie Library and Whitworth Hall between 1877 and 1902, with a final addition to the rear of the John Owens building in 1910.

Since then the University has grown and changed substantially but these buildings continue to serve us and remind us of our origins.

The conservation project began in 2010. The initial two phases encompassed parts of Whitworth Hall and Christie Building and dealt with stone and stained glass window repairs and work on newly discovered dry and wet rot. Planned works to other buildings include stone repairs, refurbishment of stained glass windows and installation of double-glazed windows, while other works are expected to arise from closer inspections, reducing the need for works on these facades again in the near future.

The double glazing will also help the University reduce its carbon emissions as well as improve staff working conditions.

The project team is meeting with staff affected by the work.

Director of Estates and Facilities Diana Hampson said: “The works will ensure that the building’s future and our heritage are assured for many generations to come.

“The benefits in delivering this project are not only to prepare the building façade for another 140 years of use but to enhance the comfort of occupants by improving ventilation and providing double-glazed windows. Our carbon savings could be, for example, 25% in the John Owens building following completion.”