Bradford’s historic venue, St George’s Hall, closed its doors at the end of March to undergo a £4 million transformation, after securing funding from both Heritage Lottery Fund and Bradford Council, but since then there appears to have been very little progress made.
Outward appearances can be misleading states Project Mangager Nick Cragg. “People may think that there has been scaffolding up and nothing has been going on since it closed in spring but there has been a lot happening. Architects have been looking at the stonework, in fact they’ve checked virtually every stone, and interior designers have been pulling things apart. It has all been part of the process and we are now looking at shortlisting contractors for the tenders.
Around 18 or 20 interested contractors have already come forward and in September we will look to see who is suitable. We are three or four weeks behind where we wanted to be but that has been down to administration with the Heritage Lottery Fund who are putting £1.5 million into the scheme”.
Proposed works include:
Front of House Ground Floor:
• Glazed entrance colonnade to provide a new draught lobby
• Reinstate three original entrance doors from Hall Ings leading into a new open plan foyer and bar area
• New passenger lift from entrance level to stalls auditorium level
• New larger toilet facilities
• Reinstate visual connection to first floor with partial glass ceiling
• Expose hidden fabric, such as the decorative mosaic floor in bar area
• Archive materials installation in redesigned spaces
Front of House First Floor:
• New lift access to/from ground floor
• Remodel bar area to include tea, coffee, concession stand, larger seating area and partial glass floor to allow light into ground floor below
• Reconfigure and refurbish toilet facilities
• Create larger open foyer space into stalls, and reinstate ceiling to original height in the Gallery Room
Peter Robinson, historic buildings and conservation specialist for Alastair Coey Architects, said his work was aimed at preserving the essence of the building. “A lot of conservation techniques will be used which was part of the criteria in the planning permission. Another element is that the contractor must have two apprentices to learn the historic building process.”
Adam Renton, General Manager Bradford Theatres stated “We now begin an extremely exciting period of refurbishment and development which will result in a much improved venue re-opening next year. We look forward to welcoming audiences to a venue which will still maintain all the character and wonderful acoustics that makes St George’s Hall one of the UK’s premiere concert halls and entertainment venues.”