Leeds Town Hall venue is 'worn and dirty', say council chiefs as £500k renovation works could start this summer

A savage Leeds City Council report has claimed Leeds Town Hall's main audotorium has fallen into "significant disrepair", with "dirt", "urban pollution" and "insensitive redecoration" all to blame.

By Richard Beecham
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd May 2022, 4:56 pm

Victoria Hall, now one of the city's major concert venues, is expected to undergo a half a million-pound facelift, alongside wider works, to let the people of Leeds enjoy the space "as was originally intended".

Wider restoration works are taking place in the hall, which will create a new performance space and better public access, but city chiefs say this is an "opportunity" to carry out "much-needed restoration work" on the hall itself.

A report by Leeds City Council officers stated: "Once complete, the works will reveal the original intention of the decorative scheme in Victoria Hall and provide a cohesive and better understood experience for audiences and visitors to the building.

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Victoria Hall during recent works to renovate the hall's organ.

"The decorative scheme in Victoria Hall has fallen into significant disrepair with urban pollution, dust, dirt and insensitive redecoration projects over the past years all taking their toll.

"The contract and subsequent works will support health and wellbeing by improving visitors experience when attending the Victoria Hall with a visitor venue that is first class and in keeping with the surrounding town hall once the wider refurbishment have (sic) taken place.

"Rather than experiencing cultural and commercial activity in a worn and dirty environment, audiences will be able to enjoy the space in the was originally intended."

The work is expected to come to just over £488,000, £249,000 of which is set to come from a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant. The rest comes from the council's town hall refurbishment fund - which the authority says is a ringfenced amount, meaning it would not be taken from other services.

It is hoped a contract for the work can be awarded this summer, and for works to be complete by August 2023.

Victoria Hall was opened, along with the Grade I listed Leeds Town Hall, in 1858. It was designed by legendary architect Cuthbert Brodrick. It is now mainly used as a concert venue and has played host to acts such as Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Numan and Morrissey.