A complex of former cotton mills called Murrays’ Mills lies in the Ancoats area of Manchester. The Murray brothers migrated from Scotland and firstly established themselves as manufacturers of machinery and then established themselves in the cotton-spinning industry.

The Old Mill is the world’s oldest surviving urban steam-powered cotton spinning factory. Construction of the mill began in 1797. The complex continued to expand through the construction of Decker Mill, New Mill, Little Mill and Doubling and Fireproof Mill. At its peak employing over 1200 people. Over time this number decreased due to advancements in technology.

Old Mill and Decker Mill are Grade II* listed as they are a significant early textile working site. New Mill is also Grade II* listed and is a now rare example of early non-fireproof construction.

UK Restoration Services was appointed to carry out repair works to the internal stone staircase within the Old Mill. The repair works were needed to bring the building back into safe operational use.

Each area of masonry was inspected with the client to determine the works required. Areas of the masonry to be removed, replaced or repaired were identified and coded.

Temporary structural support of the existing spiral staircase was put in place. Existing damaged stone treads and risers were carefully removed. Stone treads and risers removed to be re-used were carefully stored.

Five replacement stone treads and risers were required. These were sourced from a local quarry to carefully match the stone and sizing of the originals.

Following guidance from the Structural Engineers, we formed steel brackets to add additional supports within the stairwell, providing permanent structural support to the staircase.

The Architect had specified areas of original stonework and brickwork to be retained. Our team took great care not to damage the historical fabric of the building. The conservation officer inspected the project at regular intervals and on completion commended the works in a final site meeting with UK Restoration Services and the client’s representative.


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