Town Hall restoration opportunity for stained glass trainee

Date published: 05 June 2021

The team behind the multi million pound restoration of Rochdale Town Hall are on the hunt for a trainee who will work with the best in the business to restore the building’s beautiful stained glass.

The lucky trainee will work with the York Glaziers Trust, the oldest and largest specialist stained glass conservation studio in Britain, and one of the largest in Europe.

The trust looks after historic buildings throughout the UK, but is particularly known for its work to care for and conserve the stained glass in the world famous York Minster.

The two year role, which starts in September, is aimed at graduates in the relevant sector or people who have experience of working in the area of heritage and conservation. The successful applicant will be employed by Rochdale Development Agency, but will work directly under a member of the York Glaziers Trust, who will oversee their day to day work.

They will be working on site cleaning the delicate windows to remove dirt which has built up over many years, as well as repairing the lead matrix and the individual pieces of glass.

Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for economy and communications at Rochdale Borough Council and RDA board member, said: “We’re setting the bar incredibly high in terms of what we want to achieve with the restoration of Rochdale Town Hall and the fact that we’ve brought the York Glaziers Trust on board is testament to this. It’s fair to say that our stained glass windows, some of which feature famous past monarchs, will be getting the royal treatment, alongside the rest of the building’s historic features.

“But as important as it is to bring in specialists to handle these historic features, we want our residents to be part of the project too; it’s their town hall after all. It’s important for us to give people access to world class training opportunities as part of this project and to bring them on this journey with us. And it’s fair to say that there are few better opportunities than working with the York Glaziers Trust.”

Director of the York Glaziers Trust, Sarah Brown, says that Rochdale Town Hall is an exceptional example of a stained glass scheme, which varies in complexity and richness across different parts of the building, but is perfectly executed.

She said: “We’re really privileged to be involved with the redevelopment of Rochdale Town Hall. Buildings this like were the great civic cathedrals of the late Victorian period and huge resources were lavished on them, as they became symbols of civic pride and power. They were ornately decorated and their stained glass was a crucial part of this. The stained glass in Rochdale Town Hall depicts everything from Queen Elizabeth I and King James I to figures like Oliver Cromwell, alongside symbols representing Rochdale’s trading partners, like Canada.

“We work with lots of young people, and this is a growing and important field of conservation work, so this traineeship will be a marvellous opportunity for the right person. They’ll be working on site and be part of a community of people working on different aspects of the restoration. They'll be embedded in a beehive of activity, alongside experienced heritage craftspeople from across the country.”

The opportunity is one of many which will become available as the town hall project progresses, with work placements and volunteering opportunities in museum collection care set to be delivered through the Lancashire Conservation Studio alongside specialist furniture restoration courses with Tim Phelps Fine Furniture Restoration.

The Rochdale Development Agency, which is delivering the project on behalf of the council, are currently recruiting a project management apprentice to help deliver the scheme, while contractor HH Smith & Sons has also delivered work experience placements in joinery to a selection students from Hopwood Hall College in Middleton.

Further opportunities will be created as the scheme progresses, while a full activity and events programme will also enable residents to get involved.

Anyone who is interested can find out more about the role and apply at

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