A £2.4m refurbishment project to transform Holyhead’s Market Hall into an impressive new library, information and business hub will soon be underway.
Isle of Anglesey County Council has worked for a number of years to ensure that the historic civic building can once again becomes a focal point for the town and its residents.
Originally built in 1855, Market Hall has lain derelict in the heart of the town centre for more than a decade.
Council officers recently secured a £2.375m Heritage Lottery Fund grant to restore the Grade II Listed Building. This funding, together with a contribution from the Welsh Government’s Viable and Vibrant Places programme, means that the vast majority of the conservation and reuse scheme (97.5%) will be funded externally.
Conservation work to the main structure and exterior of the Market Hall begins this month.
Speaking ahead of the project’s restoration phase, the Council’s Planning portfolio holder, Richard Dew said, “This is an ambitious project which will preserve an important civic building and a significant piece of Holyhead’s rich history. It will also create a focal point for the local community and a meaningful space for its residents. As well as creating a brand new library, the new Market Hall building will serve as a hub to direct visitors to local tourism places of interest.”
“The project will give people opportunities to access the building and use it to help people learn about heritage, gain new skills, support community events and provide space for growing businesses. We’re excited to be working with our funding partners and local stakeholders on this fantastic project, and look forward to seeing the Market Hall project making a real difference when the work has finished.”
The construction of Market Hall coincided with a population and housing boom during Victorian times. The building was a focus for community activity and performed a number of roles in addition to its function as a covered area for traders, including assembly rooms, library for the Holyhead Mechanics Institute, militia depot and Court, illustrating its long social history and importance for north Anglesey and, particularly, as a key civic and community building for the town.
Anglesey Assistant Chief Executive, Annwen Morgan, added, “Such remarkable historic buildings are irreplaceable. If no one intervenes then these rare buildings not only disappear forever from our townscapes, but so do the stories that they tell us about the lives of our recent ancestors. By creating a new use for this significant historic building, we’ll ensure its survival and the creation of new stories for the next generation.”
The main contractors on the project will be North Wales based Grosvenor Construction, of Kinmel Bay, which specializes in historic building work. The company has recently worked on other local landmarks, including the Dutch Mariner’s Memorial on Newry Beach.
Director Rory Moore said, “Each new conservation project brings its own particular challenges but we take great pride in having a talented team that will meet these challenges with enthusiasm and diligence.”
“When we’ve completed the Market Hall conservation project, it will give us great pleasure to have helped extend the life and usefulness of this building and played our own small part in safeguarding its history.”
The County Council became involved with Holyhead Market Hall after concerns were raised about its deteriorating condition a decade ago. The future of the building has been at risk having fallen into disrepair in recent years. Despite the Council’s efforts to negotiate a solution with the previous owner, it was ultimately forced to use its statutory powers which led to the previous owner being served with a repairs notice and Compulsory Purchase Order in 2015. Following a public inquiry, the Welsh Ministers transferred ownership of the building to the Council in late July 2016.