BTP Architects has been appointed to restore the landmark Pankhurst Centre in Manchester. Subject to successful fundraising, the £2.6m project will see a complete refurbishment of the site which is the former home of suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst.
Following a design competition, BTP Architects was selected by the Pankhurst Trust to restore the Grade II* listed building and support its Stage 1 Heritage Lottery Fund bid.
The site at 60-62 Nelson Street in the city is the birthplace of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and the location from which it led the campaign for Votes for Women in the early 1900s. Currently, the Grade II/II* listed building is home to heritage centre but following limited investment since the 1980s is in need of repair and renovation.
With a brief to reinvigorate the centre ahead of 2018 – the centenary of when women first won the right to vote – BTP Architects developed a design proposal that balances sensitive restoration, with modern functionality and building performance.
Key project activities would include reinstating the building’s original windows and sunken light wells to allow full use of the cellar, and the front and rear gardens landscaped to mirror the site’s original style. The Edwardian villas would also be restored to give improved thermal performance and lower maintenance costs.
Once complete, the proposed building will house a fully working museum telling the story of the Pankhursts, a flexible events space, community facilities and commercial offices for rent.
Commenting on the design proposal, Vicky Saunders, Director at BTP and Lead Architect on the project, said: “The Centre is a challenging scheme as it needs to be modern and multi-use but also capture the essence of the Pankhursts’ plight. What’s more, there’s much work to be done to reinstate the site’s historical, original features which have been lost over time.
“When complete, the design proposal we’ve developed with the Pankhurst Trust will meet this unique brief and create an inspiring and life-changing space for its visitors and users.”
Since its appointment, BTP Architects has worked with the Pankhurst Trust to submit a Stage 1 Heritage Lottery Fund grant application that is needed to subsidise the restoration. The results of the Stage 1 application are expected later this month. Alongside its Heritage Lottery Fund bid, the Pankhurst Trust needs to raise an additional £20,000 over the next 12 months.
Concluding, Gail Heath of the Pankhurst Trust (incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid) added: “BTP worked with us to understand exactly what we wanted and needed for the centre and put forward an inspirational, thoughtful design. They’ve also been extremely supportive with our Heritage Lottery bid, which, if successful, will mean we can celebrate and continue the Pankhursts’ work with a new generation.”
For more information on the Pankhurst Trust, visit www.thepankhurstcentre.org.uk