Raging Fire Severely Damages Historic Former Art Museum in Manchester

Dozens of firefighters struggled to contain the blaze.

Wythenshawe Hall.Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Wythenshawe Hall.
Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The city of Manchester almost lost the historic Wythenshawe Hall this Tuesday to a fire that raged for hours. The blaze has since been extinguished.

Dozens of firefighters from the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service were called to the sight to contain the fire a little after 3:30 a.m., according to the UK’s Independent Television News.

While the source that sparked the fire has not yet been determined, area manager Warren Pickstone said that local police are collaborating with the firefighters to investigate the cause, the Guardian reports.

“We are still taking stock of the damage but will all need to rally together in an effort to restore the hall,” the city council’s executive for culture and leisure Rosa Battle said in a statement.

Wythenshawe Hall and its surrounding 250-acre estate was built in the mid-1500s. In 1926, the property was acquired by industrialist Ernest Simon and donated the estate to the city of Manchester. Since then, the space served as an art gallery and museum until it closed in 2010. In recent years, a group of volunteers called the Friends of Wythenshawe Hall have been attempting to restore the hall to its former grandeur.

Following the fire, precious antiques, furniture, and paintings have been removed from the premises. The space also held a collection of 17th century Royal Lancastrian pottery.

Last December, a fire erupted inside Brazil’s own historic Museum of the Portuguese Language in São Paulo, though firefighters were able to contain the blaze. In October, there was also a fire at Red Bull Studios in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

The Manchester City Council has not responded for artnet News’ request for comment.


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