It's easy to forget the hall's previous appearance now as we have grown used to the refurbished frontage.
It's easy to forget the hall's previous appearance now as we have grown used to the refurbished frontage.

Astley Hall: before and after pictures of refurbished landmark as it prepares for spring reopening

It was revealed this week that Chorley's historic Astley Hall is set to welcome visitors once again from late April after a £1.1m refurbishment.

By Paul Faulkner
Saturday, 26th February 2022, 11:54 am

Chorley Council also announced that entrance charges would be introduced to help with the upkeep of the venue in future and make it sustainable for the authority to operate.

The local landmark closed in 2020 to allow an ambitious programme of work to be undertaken - both inside and out.

Within the four walls of the Grade I-listed building, changes have been made to the route that people take around the hall, while greater access will also be offered to some of its rooms in order to improve the visitor experience.

However, the most visible change is to the exterior of the iconic attraction, which has had render removed to reveal 17th-century brickwork, unseen for 200 years.

The hall's new look was revealed last year in time for it to stage the G7 Speakers' Summit, hosted by Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Chorley Council leader Alistair Bradley said of the forthcoming reopening:: “It’s important that Astley Hall becomes more sustainable, so the income generated from the admission fees will offset some of the costs of running the hall, maintenance work that is required in the future and help us continue with the high level offer of exhibitions, events and other activities.

"At the moment everyone in Chorley pays for the upkeep of the hall via council tax payments and we think that those who actually visit Astley Hall - many of whom are from outside Chorley - should make a reasonable direct contribution as they would for other attractions across the UK.

“Introduction of an admission fee will also help us manage visitor numbers and the impact that heavy visitor footfall has on a building like this, helping to preserve the hall for future generations.

“Astley Hall was gifted to the people of Chorley, so it’s about striking a balance to ensure the hall is both accessible for residents and much more sustainable. With this in mind, we’ll be offering a reduced admission fee to Chorley residents and also longer opening hours to provide more opportunities for people to visit.

“The work to Astley Hall and park in recent years has made it a real visitor attraction for both residents and those from further afield. With the renovated hall, Coach House Gallery, museum gift shop, café and local retailer in the court yard, plus everything the park offers - such as fantastic play areas, woodland walks, sports pitches - it really provides a good value day out.”

With the reopening now just around the corner, the Post went to take a closer look at the revamped venue - and recall what it used to look like.

(Latest pictures by Kelvin Stuttard; those taken before the refurb by Neil Cross).

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