The next stage of one of the most significant heritage restoration projects currently underway in the UK has now begun at one of Manchester’s landmark museums.  

The Science and Industry Museum sits on the site of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station at the heart of the world’s first industrial city. Essential repair work is now taking place to restore its iconic 1830 Viaduct and the gantry connected to the Power Hall, a piece of once cutting-edge technology that shows how the historic station was transformed into a busy goods depot. Both structures are long-standing symbols of Manchester’s industrial past.

This next stage of conservation work is part of a multi-million-pound restoration programme taking place across the Science and Industry Museum’s globally significant site. Visitors will be able to see engineering in action as scaffolding is erected around the gantry to enable much-needed repair and conservation works. Innovative waterproofing solutions are also being put in place across the 1830 Viaduct to futureproof it for years to come.

These works have been made possible by the museum’s current £14.2 million worth of national capital funding by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to complete urgent repairs across New Warehouse, the gantry and the 1830 Viaduct.

The 1830 Viaduct is in need of essential repairs to reverse historic water ingress and protect it from predicted increase in rainfall over the coming years. Repairs include:

  • The temporary removal of track and ballast to allow the museum  to undertake secondary surveys of the water damage and repair work needed.
  • Drainage of water currently trapped across the Viaduct.
  • Application of new waterproofing solution to future-proof the Viaduct for generations to come.
  • Reinstallation of track to reflect the site’s original history as a working railway station.

And to ensure that the gantry remains at the heart of the Science and Industry Museum’s iconic site, its repairs include:

  • Stripping of old paint to care for the metal structure, removing rust and repairing areas impacted by water damage.
  • Fundamental structural repairs to the metal work including infilling areas after rust and corrosion has been fixed.
  •  Introduction of new waterproofing measures to protect the structure from any further water damage including new canopies above the Southern end of the Gantry beam to divert rainwater and adding drainage points into the crane beams to allow trapped water to escape.  
  •  Repainting of the Gantry to help defend it against future corrosion and decay.

An exciting time for Manchester, as Sally MacDonald, Director of the Science and Industry Museum, says:  

'We are so excited that another stage of the site’s multi-million-pound restoration project is underway. The gantry is an iconic structure in Castlefield’s skyline and we’re looking forward to repairing and restoring it for generations to come. The 1830 Viaduct also plays such an important part in telling the story of our historic site in connecting Manchester with the wider world.'

The restoration work to the gantry and 1830 Viaduct is expected to be complete by Spring 2025 when the museum also plans to reopen its iconic Power Hall. The museum will remain open throughout and is available for evening events in the Revolution Manchester Gallery and in the 1830 Warehouse across 2024 and 2025.