Skip to main content

Science and Industry Museum and The Landmark Trust partner to restore historic Station Agent's House as a new holiday property for Manchester

  • Landmark Trust to lease and restore the Science and Industry Museum's Grade I listed Station Agent's House. 
  • First time the historic building, which dates from 1808, will be accessible to the public and enjoyed as a residence for 100 years. 
  • Partnership will enable the first Landmark Trust property in the region and a key milestone in the Science and Industry Museum's plans to restore its globally significant industrial heritage site, which will enable visitors to experience every part of the museum's seven acre footprint.   
  • Historic building to see substantial investment by the Landmark Trust and open for holidays and free open days in 2024.   

The Landmark Trust and the Science and Industry Museum have announced a new use as a holiday property for the Station Agent's House, one of the city's oldest surviving Georgian houses. This accessible holiday let will sleep up to 8 people, providing a new place to stay in Manchester and a sympathetic new use for one of Manchester and the UK’s significant heritage buildings.  

Situated on the corner of Liverpool Road and Water Street in the heart of Castlefield, the house was built in 1808 for John Rothwell, partner in a nearby dyeworks. It pre-dates and is adjoined to the museum's Grade I listed 1830 Station. Liverpool Road Station was the Manchester terminus of the world's first steam-powered, inter-city railway designed to carry both passengers and goods and its 1830 Station is the oldest surviving passenger railway station in the world.  

The house then provided accommodation for the Station Agent at Liverpool Road Station before being converted for shop use in the mid 20th century. Unsuitable for museum gallery use due to its size and layout as a former residential house, it has been used as offices since the Science and Industry Museum first opened on the site from 1983, when the shop frontage was removed, and a replica of the historic doorway reinstated.   

Sally MacDonald, Director of the Science and Industry Museum says: 

'We are delighted that the Landmark Trust will be bringing their expertise in sensitively restoring incredible heritage buildings to enable Station Agent’s House to be experienced by the public for the first time. At the Science and Industry Museum we explore ideas that change the world from our globally significant industrial heritage site. It's our aim to bring into use every part of the museum's site possible, and along with the conservation and re-opening of the Power Hall with its much loved historic engines and locomotives, current repair work on the 1830 Station and plans for new galleries and outdoor experiences in the coming years, we are so pleased to be working with the Landmark Trust to lead on crucial work to this building as part of our plans to create a more sustainable museum and reveal new spaces and perspectives for visitors to enjoy.'

Anna Keay, Director of The Landmark Trust says: 

'The Landmark Trust is delighted to be working with the Science and Industry Museum at historic Liverpool Road, site of the world's oldest surviving passenger railway station. The Station Agent's House, around which the pioneering station was created, is an outstanding piece of industrial heritage. The building will be sensitively repaired and made available to all through self-catering stays and free public open days. As a charity, the Landmark Trust is committed to saving and sustaining outstanding heritage, and is thrilled to be playing a role in Manchester.'

Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council says: 

'We welcome this exciting partnership and the Landmark Trust to Manchester as part of the Science and Industry Museum's pioneering improvement plans. This scheme will enable people to enjoy an important aspect of our city's heritage for the first time as part of a thriving and rejuvenated destination.'

Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester says: 

'Manchester's rich history is woven into the fabric of Station Agent's House, and we are thrilled to see the Landmark Trust's redevelopment plans that will preserve its incredible heritage while opening up a new chapter for the building. 

'Located in the historic Castlefield neighbourhood, Station Agent's House will join local residents such as the Science and Industry Museum, Castlefield Viaduct and Factory International, undoubtedly adding to the city's already vibrant cultural scene and will also serve as a truly unique addition to the city-region's growing accommodation offer.'

Calum McGowan, Chair, Castlefield Forum says: 

'We are absolutely thrilled at these proposals, and what great news to see more of the museum’s estate come to life. Part of our mission at the Forum is to ensure that we celebrate and cherish the heritage assets in our neighbourhood so this is another great contribution towards that. The building looks set to be a wonderful place to stay, on an iconic site, in an iconic neighbourhood!'

The adjacent 1830 Station is currently being repaired ahead of re-opening to the public in future years as part of the museum's major conservation and redevelopment plans. 

The Landmark Trust will also enable further public access to the Station Agent's House through free open days. 

The transformation of the property will also improve the environmental performance of the building and use sustainable heating technology such as heat pumps in alignment with the Landmark Trust's, Science and Industry Museum's and Manchester's decarbonisation plans and sustainability goals. It will additionally improve accessibility; for example, with a new lift enabling easier access between principal rooms.  

This is the latest milestone in the museum's multi-million pound conservation and development programme across its globally significant industrial site to carry out crucial repair and conservation work, and reveal new spaces and perspectives for all visitors to enjoy, play and learn in. It follows hot on the heels of an award-winning new Special Exhibitions Gallery which opened in 2021, the current conservation of the Power Hall and ambitious decarbonisation work across the site, and future plans that will enable visitors to enjoy every space across the 7-acre site in the coming years. This will include a new experience in the 1830 station, Wonderlab gallery for children, new entrance route through to Factory International, significant new outdoor landscaping and public realm provision and opportunities for outdoor play.   

The Station Agent's House will be the Landmark Trust's first property in the region. To enable the repair and conversion works, the charity is seeking to fundraise a final £118,000. This follows early support from generous donors and use of its precious legacy income, such is the significance of the building. On completion, the Station Agent's House will join Landmark's collection of 200 historic buildings available to everyone for extraordinary holidays.

Notes to editors

The Station Agent's House – timeline and history

1808

The Station Agent's (later Station Master's) House was built in 1808 for John Rothwell, partner in the nearby Rothwell & Harrison dyeworks on Water Street. After the construction of the Liverpool Road Station, it retained its residential function, providing accommodation for the Station Agent.  

1900

In the mid 20th century the ground floor, including the façade, was converted for shop use. 

1982

In 1982 it was restored to an earlier appearance (including removing the shop frontage and installing a replica of the historic doorway) before the Science and Industry Museum opened on Liverpool Road, as part of the museum restoration works. Original interior features that remain intact include the main staircase and some of the fireplaces on the upper floor. Since then, it has been used for museum offices. 

2019

As part of the long-term, multi-million-pound plan to carry out crucial restoration work, create a more sustainable museum and reveal new spaces and perspectives for visitors to enjoy, conversations between the Science and Industry Museum and Landmark Trust begin around the feasibility of restoring this building as a holiday property.

2023

Lease for Landmark Trust to take on the building as a holiday property agreed. Landmark Trust fundraise to cover the cost of repairs and refurbishment.  

2024

Station Agent's House opens for holidaying guests.

The house was the only building on the Liverpool Road Station site before 1830. It was built in 1808–09 and stood at the corner of a plot of land owned by Eleanor Byrom and her sister's husband Henry Atherton. Typical of late Georgian middle-class houses, it has three storeys plus cellars. It was the home of John Rothwell and his family. Rothwell and his partner William Harrisons owned a dyeworks on nearby Water Street.  

Ann Atherton, Henry's widow and Eleanor Byrom initially opposed the building of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. After the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Act was passed, they sold the land to Gilbert Winter, a Manchester wine merchant and Liverpool and Manchester Railway shareholder.  

The Railway Company decided to retain the house for the use of its Station Agent. The first Station Agent to live here was called Joseph Green. The last resident was the Station's Chief Inspector in the 1920s, Mr Fitzpatrick. 

The Byrom family connection lives on in the name of two nearby streets—Byrom Street and Lower Byrom Street.

About the Landmark Trust

The Landmark Trust is one of Britain’s leading building conservation charities. Founded in 1965, Landmark rescues at-risk historic buildings and restores them into self-catering holiday accommodation welcoming everyone. Today 200 ‘Landmarks’ are located across Britain, the island of Lundy, the Channel Islands and Italy. The lettings income from holidays pays for the maintenance of each building, so safeguarding each site forevermore. The charity relies on fundraising to rescue further buildings. 

www.landmarktrust.org.uk

ABOUT THE SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY MUSEUM  

The Science and Industry Museum tells the story of where science met industry and the modern world began. Manchester was one of the first global industrial cities, and its epic rise, decline and resurrection has been echoed in countless other cities around the world.   

The museum's mission is to inspire all its visitors, including future scientists and inventors, with the story of how ideas can change the world, from the industrial revolution to today and beyond.   

The Science and Industry Museum site is on the site of the Liverpool Road Station terminus of the Liverpool Manchester Railway, the world's first purpose-built passenger railway. Among its internationally significant buildings are the world's first passenger railway station and the oldest existing railway goods warehouse. In total there are two Grade I listed buildings and four Grade II listed buildings on the site.  

The museum is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound regeneration project that will see brand new spaces opened and significant improvements made to some of its best-loved galleries.  

The Science and Industry Museum is part of the Science Museum Group, a family of museums which also includes the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York and Shildon; and the Science and Media Museum in Bradford. The Science Museum Group is devoted to the history and contemporary practice of science, medicine, technology, industry and media. With five million visitors each year and an unrivalled collection, it is the most significant group of museums of science and innovation worldwide.

Station Agent's House photographs

https://landmarktrust.photoshelter.com/galleries/C0000FAafRJ_Pdds/G00006L1RC1k8o5g/BEFORE-credit-David-Oates 

To download any of the pictures, press the downward arrow in the bottom right-hand corner, select the right-hand 'gallery password' tab and enter the password: print

Please provide a credit to David Oates.

For media enquires, please contact: