Volunteers at Hopwood Hall Estate learn the craft of renovating its historic leaded glass windows

Date published: 11 July 2020

As lockdown has eased, local volunteers, including members of ‘The Friends of Hopwood Hall Estate’ met at historic Grade II* listed Hopwood Hall in Middleton, to enjoy a workshop on the art of leaded glass window renovation.

There are approximately 200 leaded windows at Hopwood Hall dating back many hundreds of years, so understandably there has been decay due to age and sadly additional damage due to vandalism as the hall lay vacant for approximately 30 years.

This first of several forthcoming workshops on the ancient tradition of leading glass for windows, is being run by the caretaker of the Hall and heritage maintenance expert, Bob Wall from Alkrington, Middleton. It has been made possible by a grant from Historic England (HE) - match funded by Rochdale Borough Council - and forms part of HE’s funding of this magnificent property helping to ensure that it survives for the nation.

Bob Wall said: “It’s been very satisfying to see people who have never leaded a glass window before, turn out excellent work and thoroughly enjoy it. We will be running these workshops regularly as the Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease and our aim is to involve the local community in a variety of different long-lost heritage skills which are pertinent to the hall’s renovation.”


Volunteers at Hopwood Hall learn how to renovate leaded windows


Hopwood DePree added: “We are thrilled to be able to offer these sessions to the community. We are looking forward to being able to expand the programme to continue to offer more opportunities for residents, students and those who simply have an interest in learning a new skill and to understand and appreciate heritage.”

Councillor Janet Emsley on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “I am pleased that traditional skills which will contribute to renovation at Hopwood Hall and other heritage sites are being fostered in the workshops. It is important that we don’t lose this connection with our past and contributing to the fabric of the building will improve people’s understanding of their environment and strengthen their resolve to continue with the restoration. All workshops will, obviously, observe social distancing.”


Volunteers at Hopwood Hall learn how to renovate leaded windows


Hopwood Hall College in the former grounds of Hopwood Hall has been instrumental in enabling the training workshops to take place during these trying times by allowing access for the builders and the Friends group. 

The head of facilities and risk management at Hopwood Hall College,Lewis Crichton, said: “Despite the ongoing challenges Covid-19 presents to the college, we continue to work closely and enjoy good relations with the Hopwood Hall Estate. These workshops represent a huge positive step, both in terms of the hall’s restoration and in ensuring that the specialist heritage skills required to do so continue for the benefit of future generations. The hall is a truly remarkable building filled with an array of fascinating architectural details. The more that is done to ensure the skills needed to preserve these features for future generations, the better."

Throughout the lockdown, some essential works, with strict Covid-19 rules in place, have been able to continue at the hall, to rescue areas of this precious Grade II* listed building from imminent collapse.

Anyone who wishes to take part in forthcoming workshops on leaded windows (Thursday 16 July, Friday 24 July and Friday 31 July) should email:

Workshops on other aspects of heritage repair will be announced shortly.

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