£6m church opens doors after refurb
ANCOATS’ historic Halle St Peter’s church reopens this weekend after a £6.6 m transformation.
The Grade II listed building dates from 1859 and has been used as a rehearsal space by Manchester’s acclaimed Halle symphony orchestra since 2013.
A three-storey extension, The Oglesby Centre, has now been completed, adding a number of new practice rooms, performance spaces and a cafe and bar which will be open to the public.
Looking out over Cutting Room Square through sliding glass windows, the Halle Kitchen cafe and bar occupies the ground floor of the weathered steel annexe,
Inside is a bright, whitewashed seating area connected to the bare brickwork of the original building, where windows look through into the church itself.
Guests will be able to call in for everything from coffee and cake to Sunday lunch.
The Halle’s communications director Andy Ryans said: “There’ll be everything from a quick bite to something more substantial. It will have a traditional sort of theme.
“There’s a lot of competition around the area and we wanted to place ourselves as being something familiar, something that represents real value, something that could reflect the seasons and something that is fresh and takes advantage of everything that’s actually not very far away from here.”
A stairwell bridges the old and new elements of the building with a glass skylight and walls revealing the tower.
Down in the basement is the purpose-built Monument Room rehearsal space, while upstairs are further practice rooms and the new Victoria Wood Hall, a flexible, acoustically-designed space that can be used for rehearsing, recording, performances and events.
A door inscribed with a speciallycommissioned poem, The Event Horizon, written by poet laureate Simon Armitage, leads through to the original church building, which is now back in use by the orchestra and its family of associated choirs and youth orchestra.
The Oglesby Centre was designed by Manchester-based Stephenson Studio, who won an international competition judged by the Royal Institute of Architects.
The Halle aims to grow its education and outreach work at the centre, providing coaching for gifted musicians, as well as inclusive projects encouraging a wider range of children and adults to engage with music.
The newly-completed Halle St Peter’s Church