National Lottery grant to restore spectacular Methodist church hall
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded LMM £904,300 to restore the Albert Walker Hall and bring it back into use for activities and private hire.
The Mission building has been at the heart of the community for 108 years and is a much-loved landmark within the borough. It is regularly used for lunch clubs, cookery classes, school productions, conferences and as a meeting space for local groups.
Now, with this investment, LMM will be able to open up a whole new space which is currently closed to the public because of fears of failing debris.
The Albert Walker Hall was named after the son of LMM's founder Elizabeth Walker. Its architecture was considered revolutionary when the hall was built in 1909, with decorated ceiling panels, cast iron columns and a series of stained glass windows.
The Hall was opened in response to huge population growth in North Merseyside, linked to the development of the railways and docks, and has hosted many major social events over the last century.
However many of the features inside the hall are now deteriorating because of water leaking in from the roof and the windows have been vandalised and boarded up. The funding will help to repair the roof and windows, install a new floor and remove modern interventions so that the hall can be brought back to its former glory.
LMM will also run a series of activities such as hard hat tours, reminiscence sessions and genealogy workshops to engage the local community in the conservation work and the important history of the building.
Margaret Langton, project manager, said: “The renovation of the Albert Walker Hall will provide a functional space for the congregation and community to use and enjoy and the planned heritage activities will complement activities already running within the neighbourhood centre.
“This is a fabulous opportunity which we are very excited about.”
The funding success comes just 18 months after the future of the project was thrown into serious doubt when two of the volunteers who had previously driven it forward sadly died. A new group of volunteers got together to rescue the bid and secure the money needed to ensure the plans could go ahead.
Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “Architecturally significant both inside and out, the LMM building is a prominent local landmark that is already well-used by the local community.
“This National Lottery investment will address the urgent works needed so that the Albert Walker Hall can be reopened for people to use and enjoy again. We know it’s taken quite an effort to get the project this far and we congratulate everyone involved in making this happen.”
The project is one of a number of renovations carried out by LMM over the last decade to make the building fit for purpose. It is hoped that all the capital works will be complete within 18 months.
HLF: Tom Williams, Communications Manager, on tel: 0207 591 6056 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
LMM: Margaret Langton via email: email@example.com