Largest grant yet awarded to Hopwood Hall Estate rescue gives project major boost
Date published: 22 October 2021
Photo: Phill Longley
An aerial view of Hopwood Hall Estate
The rescue of the Grade-II* listed Hopwood Hall Estate in Middleton has been awarded its largest grant so far, thanks to the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
The Hopwood Hall Estate project will receive a grant amount of £460,000 comprising of a ‘Heritage Stimulus Fund’ grant from Historic England of £368,294 and 25% match funding of £92,073 from Rochdale Borough Council, which will bring the total to approximately £460,000.
This is the most significant grant to date and is a game-changer for the hall’s future.
Hopwood DePree, Chair of the ‘Hopwood Foundation’ charity, said: “This is really fantastic news and will ensure that we can move forward getting ever closer to the dream of restoring this beautiful building as an accessible venue for the community and beyond.
“The repairs will include further critical work to the roof and structure including brick repairs, mortar works and a continuation of the leaded window repair programme that has been supported by helping hands from volunteers. It has been a massive effort from the entire community to rally around saving this historically important building.
“We will continue to document the progress in our ‘Friends’ newsletter and YouTube channel so supporters can follow along.”
Councillor John Blundell, Cabinet Member for Economy at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “It’s great to see more investment going into Hopwood Hall to support the continued restoration if this important part of our borough’s extensive heritage and bring it back into some form of public use.
“In addition to this grant of £368k from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund through Historic England, we’ve also awarded the scheme a further £92k of council funding.
“This vital cash injection will fund important repair works to the building, particularly around the roof, and help to provide additional training and resources for the many dedicated volunteers, who have been such a key part of this incredible project.”
Money from the government’s £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund is intended to open up heritage and the benefits it brings to everyone, helping to level up and improve life and opportunities for people in places that need it most.
Administered on behalf of The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport by Historic England, 142 sites – including Hopwood Hall – are receiving support from the second round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, bolstering local economies and supporting jobs across the country.
Many of the organisations and sites receiving funding enhance wellbeing and community connection, offering education, development opportunities and jobs in some of the most deprived communities hit hard by the impact of the pandemic.
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, added: “Funding from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund is hugely welcome at a time when the people and organisations who look after our vast and varied array of heritage urgently need support to carry out essential repairs. Heritage is a fragile eco-system, with an amazing cast of characters who keep our historic places alive, with specialist skills that take time to learn and experience to perfect. These grants will protect their livelihoods, as they use their expertise to help our heritage survive.”
Hopwood Hall was originally built in 1426 for the Hopwood family of which Hopwood DePree is a descendant. The Hopwood family resided at the hall for over 500 years, but both male Hopwood heirs were tragically killed in action during World War One.
The hall sat empty until World War Two when it was used as a base of operations for a cotton company producing soldiers’ uniforms. It was then passed to an order of De La Salle Monks. Later it lay vacant for nearly 30 years, suffering vandal attacks that drove it into disrepair. It remains on the Historic England ‘At Risk’ register.
Hopwood Hall is now owned by Rochdale Borough Council, which is managing and overseeing the emergency repair works. The council has entered an exclusive agreement with Mr DePree, whereby he has the option of acquiring the hall at a future date with a detailed plan to provide for the preservation and protection of the building.
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