A pair of Victorian chapels in Wigan – designed by the architect of Manchester Town Hall – are to be ‘brought back to life’ by a council funded restoration project.
The grade II listed buildings in Ince cemetery will receive a £100k investment having become derelict in recent years.
Built in 1855 – for respective denominations; Church of England and Roman Catholic – their dilapidated state has seen trees break through their respective roofs, the town hall said.
The investment forms part of a new council programme to improve its heritage sites.
Cabinet member Coun Terry Halliwell said the chapels are ‘beautiful pieces of architecture’.
“Although we always ensured the buildings were safe, we haven’t been in a position to invest money into them and bring them back to life until now,” he added.
“We are yet to fully explore what works can be undertaken with the money, but we are hopeful that it will allow us to replace the roof, remove the moss and trees and make the buildings watertight.”
The chapels are the work of Alfred Waterhouse who also created Manchester Town Hall, London’s Natural History Museum and the site of the Museum of Wigan Life in the town centre.
Bosses said the investment is part of the local authority’s first Historic Environment Strategy, a five year programme to restore heritage sites across the borough.
It comes a week after the council revealed £850k – including heritage lottery funding – will be spent on restoration work on the frontage of the Victorian Tower Buildings on Wallgate in the town centre.
The work on the chapels will be ‘in-keeping with the style and architecture’ of their original designs and will be a ‘great start’, Coun Halliwell said.
He added: “We’re continuously looking at ways we can improve our buildings and look to find support from investors and the community to help us reach our goals.
“We will keep the public updated with the progress of the chapels and would welcome ideas about what the end-use of the chapels could be in the long-term.”
Liverpool born architect Mr Waterhouse also designed the clock tower at Rochdale Town Hall. He died in 1905, aged 75.