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Wythenshawe Hall added to 'at risk' register

Photo: ITV Granada

Wythenshawe Hall has been added to the Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register for the North West.

The updated register, published today, shows an annual snapshot of the health of the historic environment in the region.

Newly added to the Register this year is Manchester’s Wythenshawe Hall which was ravaged by fire in March. The timber framed Tudor hall at the centre of the site, which was built in the 1530s, was devastated and much of the earliest historic fabric destroyed.

The police have charged a man with arson who will stand trial later this year. Historic England has been working with Manchester City Council since March to conserve the historic building's remains.

Fire can have a devastating impact on historic buildings and there has been a worrying increase in fires at protected sites across the region this year. Also destroyed by fire in 2016 was Daresbury Hall in Halton which has been on the ‘At Risk’ Register for several years.

Cheshire Police believe the fire was started deliberately and continue to investigate.

The region’s protected industrial heritage has also been targeted, with several empty mills set ablaze. This aptly highlights how poorly maintained, empty historic buildings are more susceptible to heritage crime. We are now working closely with fire and rescue services to reduce the likelihood of fires elsewhere.

Charles Smith, Heritage at Risk Principal for Historic England in the North West said:

An increase in fires across a range of our precious historic buildings over the past year is a great concern. We will be working closely with fire and rescue services to monitor and reduce potential fires elsewhere.

The good news in the North West is that we have removed 38 sites from this year’s Register. We continue to invest grant aid, as well as dedicate time and expertise to working with owners, developers and communities to find solutions for our heritage at risk.

– Charles Smith