BTP Architects helps restore Suffragettes\' Birthplace
BTP Architects are working with the Pankhurst Trust to restore the historic Pankhurst Centre, the birthplace of the Women’s Social and Political Union, which revolutionised women’s fight for the vote.
The house at 60-62 Nelson Street, Manchester was the home of Emmeline Pankhurst and her family. They led the Suffragette campaign for Votes for Women. This is where the first meeting of the WSPU was held. Now home to museum and heritage centre, the Grade II/II* listed buildings desperately need repair and restoration.
The Trust’s aim is to reinvigorate the centre as a heritage destination telling the story of the women who won the vote, and who continue to inspire women today. This will involve creating a fully working museum on the ground floor complete with a recreated parlour highlighting their extraordinary journey taken by the Pankhursts from parlour to parliament. Other space within the villas will be turned into flexible cultural events space, meeting/seminar rooms, and offices for rent.
BTP possesses considerable experience as conservation architects working with heritage buildings such as the restoration of Elizabeth Gaskell’s house in Manchester.
Following a design competition, BTP came up with a design solution that balances the three strands required by the Charity of heritage, cultural events and office rental space.
The Pankhurst Trust is undertaking major fundraising efforts to cover the costs of the project. It is also seeking Part 1 Heritage Lottery Funding, to progress the development. The aim is to have the project complete by 2018, which is the centenary of when women first won the right to vote.
Gail Heath of the Pankhurst Trust (incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid) said “With the centenary anniversary of the right to vote approaching, it is important to ensure that the birthplace of the WSPU is fully restored and able to continue its work with women and their needs. We have worked tirelessly to fundraise and undertake some initial restoration work, but this project will make a major difference. BTP Architects have the skills, knowledge and experience to bring this project to life.”
Vicky Saunders, BTP Director and Lead Architect said, “We are proud to be involved in this project to reinvigorate the birthplace of the Manchester Suffragettes who transformed the rights of women. It is a challenging project combining a heritage centre and cultural needs with modern community facilities to help women cope with the issues they face today.”
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