One of the most important historic buildings in Middleton is to be totally restored in a council and lottery revamp which tops half a million pounds.
Over £590,000 will be spent transforming the Long Street Methodist School, which has been out of use for a number of years.
'Work is under way now and is expected to take around 6 months'
The extensive work, which has already started, will see the restoration of original features, such as the leaded windows, the stonework, canopies over the doors and the original stage in the school hall.
The work will also help get the building ready for potential future use, with plans to modernise the kitchen and toilets and replace the central heating system as part of the job, which is expected to take around 6 months.
'The school's design was groundbreaking and was influential in subsequent 20th century design'
Completed in 1900, the Sunday school was designed by the famous Middleton-born architect Edgar Wood. The design was groundbreaking at the time because it featured the arts and crafts architectural style Wood was famous for, but also showcases the beginnings of art nouveau influences before this architectural style became widely popular. This building was influential in subsequent 20th century design.
The project is part of the Middleton Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), £2.4 million council and Heritage Lottery Funded scheme to restore a number of historically important buildings in Middleton.
Other structures which have been restored as part of the THI include the Jubilee Library, Edgar Wood's former home Redcroft, in Rochdale Road, and the famous staircase and exedra (seating area) in Jubilee Park.
'Building is currently on the Historic England's At Risk Register'
Councillor June West, Chair of the Middleton Township and member of the THI board, said: "This is the final project we will be undertaking as part of our fantastic grant scheme and it's the biggest yet. The Long Street Methodist School is Grade II*, which means it's in the top 5% of important historic buildings in the country, so it's really important that we honour its important legacy. It is also currently on the Historic England Heritage at Risk register, so this work will protect its future and give it an important role in our community once again."
Stockport-based Stone Edge, a company which specialises in historic building restoration, has been appointed to carry out the work. The company has previously worked on such high profile projects as the renovation of Piece Hall in Halifax and Salford Cathedral, and further afield the Lindo Wing, where the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to her first two children, and the famous London department store, Fortnum and Mason.