St George's Hall, Bradford
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|St George's Hall|
|Designation||Listed Building Grade II*|
|Architect||Henry Francis Lockwood and William Mawson|
|Owned by||Bradford Theatres|
|Capacity||1672 Orchestral Format|
|Opened||29 August 1853|
St George's Hall is a grade II* listed Victorian building located in the centre of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Originally designed with a seating capacity of 3,500, the hall seats 1,500 people. It is the oldest concert hall still in use in the United Kingdom and the third oldest in the whole of Europe. German Jewish wool merchants who had moved to Bradford because of its textile industry financed the building of St George's Hall, Jacob Moser being instrumental in its construction.
The building's design, by Henry Francis Lockwood and William Mawson, was chosen from more than twenty-two designs submitted during an 1849 competition. Built of ashlar sandstone masonry in neoclassical style, the building was opened on 29 August 1853. The interior underwent extensive remodelling after World War II and again after fires in the 1980s.
In the early nineteenth century, as Bradford grew in size, it became clear there was a need in the city for a venue for public meetings and concerts. The buildings that were in use for this purpose - the Exchange Buildings and Mechanics' Institute - were proving insufficient for the city's needs. As a result, a group of shareholders was brought together by the city's mayor, Samuel Smith, in 1849 for the purpose of building a music hall. £16,000 of capital was raised, in £10 shares. The site on the corner of Bridge Street and Hall Ings was chosen as the location and the foundation stone was laid in 1851 by the Earl of Zetland.
The venue has hosted many of the world's top performers over the years including Charles Dickens, the Hallé Orchestra, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Free, David Bowie, Genesis, INXS, Bon Jovi, Kiss amongst others. For a time in the 1980s and early 1990s it was a major venue for touring international bands before the development of the Sheffield Arena.
- James, John (1866). The History of Bradford and Its Parish: With Additions and Continuation to the Time 1. Bradford: Longman, Green, Reader and Dyer.
- Bradford Theatres Website
- English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (336529)". Images of England.
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