The first phase of a major project to restore and reopen Oldham’s historic Old Library has started. The work will protect and preserve the Union Street building, ready for bringing it back into public use.
The Grade II listed building was originally constructed in 1883 to provide a free public library for the residents of Oldham. Soon after opening it was also extended to provided additional lecture theatre and gallery space to meet the requirements of the growing town. However in recent years there have been limitations on how the building could be used, and in 2017 all public access finally came to an end.
With extensive experience in this field, Tilbury Douglas, a leading UK building, infrastructure, engineering and fitout company, is leading the significant scheme located on Union Street in Oldham Town Centre.
The scheme will initially focus on the building’s envelope to prevent further deterioration. It will also include high level demolition and replacement with a new structure to future proof the building. In addition, externally, the façade will be cleaned using specialist treatments and internally, the existing plaster moulds will be taken for future replication.
The scheme which was procured through the Procure Partnerships Framework will have a strong focus on local employment and labour. The project will also offer apprentice and work experience opportunities for specialist trades including stone restoration, timber repairs, lead working, roofing and zinc cladding. The site team have selected POINT from Oldham Council’s Mayoral Charities to focus their fundraising efforts on and Street Angels for their ‘Give a Day of Your Time’ activities.
Phil Shaw, Divisional Director for the North West at Tilbury Douglas, commented: “Being able to transform such an historic and important site into a new cultural hub, which will add so much to the local community, is a real honour for the team working on this scheme. This is why we are focusing on ensuring the construction team also gives back to the local community through offering employment and learning opportunities inspiring the next generation of constructors. For example, the team recently delivered guest lectures on site management and behavioural safety to more than 100 Oldham College students, with similar initiatives planned over the next 18 months.”