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Bradford’s St. George’s Hall re-opens after £9m renovation

Bradford’s Grade II* listed St. George’s Hall has re-opened to the public after a £9m refurbishment, funded by Bradford Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The famous Victorian concert hall welcomed its first acts back on its stage this past weekend after extensive work took place on its interior and exterior.

Improvements made to the structure of the hall include major works on its roof, windows, electrics and stonework – funded with £1.5m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund – as well as larger front-of-house areas.

The building’s auditorium has also been improved, boasting brand new seating and configuration with improved sightlines.

Adam Renton, general manager at Bradford Theatres which is responsible for operating the hall, said: ‘The restoration is truly first rate and it really does bring the facilities and the venue right up to date.

‘It has taken over 125,000 staff hours from the main contractor to bring us to this point; with 1,000 stones replaced on the exterior of the building; and over 200 archive items, tickets and signed posters have been displayed in front of house areas.’

‘We are so looking forward to welcoming artists, performers and the public to our newly refurbished venue throughout the year.’

The first artist to play at the newly refurbished St. George’s Hall was the Scottish singer Barbara Dickson at the grand reopening this past Friday night, while its resident orchestra the Hallé will open Bradford’s 151st International Orchestral Season this evening.

St. George’s Hall has been a staple of Bradford cultural life since it first opened its doors in August 1853.

Over the years the grand venue has welcomed intellectuals and performers such as Charles Dickens, Iron Maiden and David Bowie, as it regularly hosted rock musicians prior to the Sheffield Arena’s opening in 1991.

The venue’s history will now be celebrated with a permanent archive display located inside the hall, made up of objects found during its two-year renovation.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s executive member for healthy people and places, said: ‘We are really proud of the refurbishment work that has been carried out on this amazing 165 year old Grade II listed building.

‘The work is to an exceptionally high standard and will ensure the venue can be enjoyed by many future generations.’

Last week, the National Heritage Lottery Fund announced its new £7m Heritage Impact Fund, a social investment fund to support projects looking to re-use historic buildings.

The fund will provide loan finance to charities, social enterprises and community businesses looking to acquire or revive derelict heritage buildings for good causes.

Earlier this year the funder said it would devolve 80% of its funding decision-making to three English areas and each of the UK’s other constituent countries, with its board continuing to decide on the largest grants.

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