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Newcastle City Hall

Coordinates: 54°58′39″N 1°36′37″W / 54.9774°N 1.6102°W / 54.9774; -1.6102
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O2 City Hall Newcastle
Exterior of venue (c.2018)
Former namesNewcastle City Hall (1927-2019)
AddressNorthumberland Road
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8SF England
Coordinates54°58′39″N 1°36′37″W / 54.9774°N 1.6102°W / 54.9774; -1.6102
OperatorAcademy Music Group
TypeConcert hall
Opened1927 (1927)
Venue Website
Listed Building – Grade II
Official nameNorthumberland Baths / City Hall
Designated8 May 1992
Reference no.1242013

The Newcastle City Hall (currently known as O2 City Hall Newcastle for sponsorship reasons) is a concert hall located in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It has hosted many popular music and classical artists throughout the years, as well as standup and comedy acts. The venue is operated by Academy Music Group and named under a group sponsorship agreement with telecoms company O2. It is a Grade II listed building.[1]


The building was designed by Nicholas & Dixon-Spain[2] and opened in 1927 as a part of a development which also included the adjacent Newcastle City Baths.[3] It has since become a venue for orchestras, rock and pop bands, and comedy acts, as well as for celebrity recitals, talks and civic functions.[3] The city hall formed the east side of the complex and, like the city baths, the design involved a tall portico with central Doric order columns between flanking antae with five square windows above.[1]

In November 2012, Newcastle City Council announced that, as part of a wider cost-cutting process, the future of the City Hall and the adjacent City Pool was under review, with a number of options being considered including closure or handing over the venue to an external operator.[4] Council leader Nick Forbes pre-empted the outcome of the consultations process by stating that the City Hall has "No long-term future".[5] In response, a 13,000 name petition against closure was presented to Newcastle City Council by members of the Facebook "North East Music History Group" on 31 January 2013.[6]

In April 2016 it was announced that the Theatre Royal Trust had taken over management of the venue[7] and, in May 2019, the Theatre Royal Trust transferred the City Hall operations to Academy Music Group, and the venue was renamed as O2 City Hall Newcastle.[8]


An organ, design and built by Harrison and Harrison was installed in 1928, to enable the building to operate as the city's first dedicated concert venue.[3] A concert instrument, as opposed to a cathedral specification, it has been used for choral and orchestral concerts as well as organ recitals. It has 4,274 pipes, with a number of unique stops and has been described as "A Rolls-Royce" of organs.[9]

The organ is currently in a poor state of repair, although as a result of its neglect, the instrument is probably the last and largest example of a Harrison tubular-pneumatic action (most other large organs were converted to electro-pneumatic action after World War II). The organ is also unusual in that it is unaltered, as most comparable organs have been modified, added-to or revoiced.[10]

The British Institute of Organ Studies awarded it a Grade 1 Historic Organ Certificate in 2003, and the significance of the organ was taken into account as part of the assessment of the hall's Grade II listed building status.[11]

Notable musical acts[edit]

The building was used as a public venue from an early stage and concert performers included the contralto singer, Kathleen Ferrier, who made an appearance on 22 April 1953.[12]

English rock band The Rolling Stones performed at the City Hall with American R&B duo Ike & Tina Turner and English rock band The Yardbirds on 1 October 1966.[13]

The rock band, The Who, appeared at the City Hall in October 1967,[14] and the local R&B band, The Animals, reunited and performed for a one-off performance at the City Hall in 1968.[15]

On 7 May 1971, American country rock band The Byrds performed there as part of their 1971 UK Tour[16] and, in December 1976, as a one-off gig, local folk rock band, Lindisfarne, played three sell-out concerts in the City Hall.[17]

The rock group, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, recorded their live album, Pictures at an Exhibition, there on 26 March 1971: Keith Emerson played the whole first Promenade on the City Hall organ.[18]

The singer-songwriter, David Bowie, performed in the City Hall in January 1973 during his Ziggy Stardust Tour[19] and the rock band, Wishbone Ash, recorded tracks at the City Hall for the live album Live Dates in June 1973.[20] Meanwhile, the rock band, Roxy Music, recorded tracks for Viva Roxy Music at the City Hall in October 1974.[21]

In 1981, rock band, Motörhead, recorded the majority of the tracks for their live album, No Sleep 'til Hammersmith, at the City Hall.[22] Later that year, rock band, Slade, performed and recorded their show, which was later released as a live album, entitled Slade on Stage.[23]

The German rock band, Rammstein, played at the city hall in October 1997[24] and Ray Jackson performed with a new lineup of Lindisfarne in December 2013.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Historic England. "Northumberland Baths / City Hall (1242013)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Newcastle City Hall". Co-curate. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "City Hall". Newcastle City Council. Archived from the original on 6 March 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  4. ^ Wood, Kerry (30 November 2012). "Fears over cultural landmark Newcastle City Hall". nechronicle.
  5. ^ "City hall no 'long-term future'". BBC. 27 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Petition to save Newcastle City Hall music venue". Chronicle Live. 1 February 2013.
  7. ^ Meechan, Simon (1 April 2016). "New operators take over Newcastle City Hall, Pool and Turkish Baths". nechronicle.
  8. ^ Ford, Coreena (2 May 2019). "Newcastle City Hall to be taken over by operators of O2 Academy". nechronicle.
  9. ^ Liz Walker, "Campaign aims to restore historic Newcastle organ", The Journal, 18 January 2010
  10. ^ City Hall Organ campaign Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, NDSO
  11. ^ City Hall website
  12. ^ Fifield, Christopher (2011). Letters and Diaries of Kathleen Ferrier: Revised and Enlarged Edition. Boydell Press. p. 303. ISBN 978-1843830917.
  13. ^ "City Hall, Newcastle, Sat., Oct. 1st - The Rolling Stones / Ike & Tina Turner / The Yardbirds (Advertisement)". Evening Chronicle. 9 September 1966. p. 2. Retrieved 2 February 2024.
  14. ^ Neill, Andrew; Kent, Matthew (2009). Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of the WHO 1958–1978. Sterling Publishing Company. p. 304. ISBN 978-1402766916.
  15. ^ "The Animals". Setlist. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  16. ^ "December 2011". 27 October 2011.
  17. ^ "40 years of Lindisfarne Christmas concerts at Newcastle City Hall". Chronicle Live. 19 December 2016.
  18. ^ "Discography". carlpalmer.com.
  19. ^ "The Ziggy Stardust Tour". David Bowie World. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  20. ^ Eder, Bruce. Newcastle City Hall at AllMusic
  21. ^ "Roxy Music, October 1974". You Tube. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  22. ^ Smith, Sid. "BBC – Music – Review of Motorhead – No Sleep 'til Hammermith". BBC.
  23. ^ "Slade on Stage". Slade Discography. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  24. ^ "Rammstein playing Heirate mich". Guest Spectacular. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  25. ^ "Ray Jackson's Lindisfarne return to the band's Newcastle City Hall stamping ground". Chronicle Live. 19 December 2014.

External links[edit]