Rylands Hall, Manchester

Re-establishing a Listed building as a Place of Worship

Rylands Hall, Stretford (originally named the Union Church) was built in 1867 and is Grade II Listed. The building is named after John Rylands who reigned supreme in Manchester as the ’Cotton King’. His strong Christian ideals and philanthropy meant he used his wealth to provide the people of Stretford with a number of public buildings such as this.

Interestingly, this project brought back into use a Listed building by re-establishing it as a Place of Worship. Although the building had undergone extensive alterations in the 1980s into offices, our design ensured wherever practicable, that features of the original design were exploited, such as siting the main sanctuary on the first floor to benefit from the arched windows, and the removal of office subdivisions. A further key issue we successfully addressed was the resolution of restricted parking arrangements and mitigation of noise break-out in relation to the neighbouring residential area with the church having a large congregation at certain times this was always going to be a controversial issue to resolve.

The internal adaptations also ensured the building met the requirements of the Equality Act within the constraints of its Listed status, with improved circulation, and sanitary provision.

Our early dialogue with the Conservation Officer throughout the scheme has ensured its success, within sometimes very restrictive timeframes.

Pre-application discussions on site, design development through samples, and use of historical precedent have ensured an excellent relationship with Trafford Council, with HSA acting as the main point of contact.