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You are in: Manchester > History > History features > Ordsall: a museum makeover

Ordsall: a museum makeover

It's survived the English Civil War, the Luftwaffe and provided decades of loyal service for Salford. Now, after almost 700 years, it's time for some well earned love and attention. We reveal plans for Ordsall Hall's museum makeover:

Ordsall Hall

Ordsall Hall

Despite the ravages of time and even the Manchester Blitz, Ordsall Hall has retained its unlikely place on the Salford skyline as one of the oldest surviving buildings in Greater Manchester.

The main hall at Ordsall Hall

The Great Hall

Historical records show that existing parts of the Hall date back to 1351 when it became the family seat of the Radclyffe family of Bury.

Today, the black and white half-timbered building remains one of the finest examples of Tudor architecture in the North West and a hugely popular museum.

However time has taken its toll on the 660-year-old structure with the roof and walls badly in need of attention.

And with Lottery funding now secured, the award-winning attraction is set for a £6.5 million refurbishment that will see the Hall close its doors in mid-February 2009 for over two years.


Work will begin just after the spring half term (Feb 2009) with the entire building being covered to protect it from the elements:

During the refurbishment:

  • the museum's objects and furniture will be moved into storage;
  • specialist repairs will be carried out to the walls and roof;
  • new rooms in the Hall will be opened up to the public;
  • interactive displays will be introduced and galleries enhanced;
  • an outreach programme will visit schools and community groups;
  • smaller artifacts will form part of the museum's roadshow

There are also plans to use the grounds on the Ordsall Lane side for a history trail, picnic site and major events area for historical re-enactments and medieval fairs.


In recent years, the Grade 1 listed building has proved popular, especially with school parties, as a living museum attracting 26,000 visits a year.

Archery at Ordsall Hall

Learning about archery at Ordsall

Actors in Elizabethan costume help schoolchildren to learn everything about the Tudors from their living habits, working lives and royal connections to their customs, weapons and battles.

And while Salford Council has been commended for bringing the past to life – Ordsall Hall was voted the best Small Visitor Attraction at the 2007 Northwest Tourism Awards – it’s planned to extend and improve the museum's education programme.

As Salford Council puts it, Ordsall boasts '700 years of history in Tudor wrapping' and the museum now wants to present the building's wider history - from the Plantagenets to the Windsors.

Cllr Barry Warner, Salford City Council's lead member for culture and sport said it was a significant moment in the hall's history:

Ordsall Hall

Parts of the Hall will be opened to the public

"Though it will be sad to temporarily say goodbye to Ordsall Hall, the end is now in sight and we're all incredibly excited about the transformation. We can't wait to see it taking shape.

Though the hall is already a Salford treasure... there is so much more potential to unlock. Currently there are many rooms of the hall such as the Italian Plaster Ceiling room and Solar room that aren't open to the public and we want to be able to show off the hall in all its glory."

The refurbishment is being funded with £4.1m of Heritage Lottery cash with a further £2.4m raised by Salford Council, donations and other grants.

Ordsall Hall will close in mid February 2009 and is set to re-open Easter 2011.

last updated: 09/01/2009 at 13:30
created: 05/01/2009

You are in: Manchester > History > History features > Ordsall: a museum makeover


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