Wolverhampton Civic Hall

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Coordinates: 52°35′12″N 2°07′51″W / 52.5866°N 2.1307°W / 52.5866; -2.1307

Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Civic Hall - geograph.org.uk - 447452.jpg
Exterior of venue
LocationWolverhampton, England
OwnerWolverhampton City Council
Capacity3,000 (Civic Hall)
1,134 (Wulfrun Hall)
550 (Slade Rooms)
Construction
Opened16 May 1938 (1938-05-16)
Expanded2001
Website
Venue Website
Listed Building – Grade II
Designated31 March 1992
Reference no.1207355

The Wolverhampton Civic Hall is a music venue in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England. It has been one of the most notable live music venues in the county for several decades. It is part of a complex also including Wulfrun Hall and the Slade Rooms (previously known as The Little Civic). The complex is owned and managed by Wolverhampton City Council and is a Grade II listed building.[1]

Construction and development[edit]

The hall, which was designed by Lyons and Israel in the Classical style was completed in May 1938.[1] The smaller Wulfrun Hall had been inspired by the architecture of the Stockholm Concert Hall.[1] It was officially opened by the Earl of Dartmouth on 12 May 1938.[2] Jack Hylton and his orchestra provided the entertainment for the occasion.[2]

It was renovated and extended to a design by Penoyre & Prasad in 2001.[3]

The venue was reconfigured to create the new Slade Rooms in March 2010.[4]

Wolverhampton City Council announced plans for a revamp of the Civic Halls with a budget of £10.4 million in March 2015.[5] The halls closed in December 2015 at which time the cost projection had increased to £14.4 million.[5] In March 2019 it was announced that the halls would not reopen until autumn 2021 and that the cost was projected at £38.1 million.[5]

Organ[edit]

A Compton Organ was specially designed for the Civic Hall.[2] The organ was made up of over 5,500 pipes[2] and contained an early electronic division known as a Melotone.[6] G. D. Cunningham, then Birmingham City Organist, had the distinction of being the first musician to play there to invited guests.[2] The Organ was re-built and enlarged in 2001, and was capable of being played as a concert organ or theatre organ.[6]

In September 2016 it was announced that the organ would be removed and would not return to the Civic Hall.[5] In February 2019 it was revealed that the pipes had been scrapped, despite several offers to restore them, free of charge.[7][8]

Events[edit]

Portishead playing live at the venue, 13 April 2008

The first concert was performed on the evening of 16 May 1938, by the Old Royals Association, with Anne Ziegler, Webster Booth and several other soloists.[2]

Comedians, such as Ken Dodd, Peter Kay and Jim Davidson, have appeared at the hall.[9]

It has also staged some sports events. Throughout much of the 1970s and 1980s professional wrestling was broadcast live from the venue on Saturday afternoons.[10] On 16 March 2006 the venue was first utilized by the Professional Darts Corporation as it hosted Week 4 of the 2006 Premier League Darts. From 2007 the venue has staged the Grand Slam of Darts. However the tournament in 2018 was moved to Aldersley Leisure Village due to on going refurbishments at the Civic Hall.[11] Gary Anderson, having competed every year in tournament since its conception, says he prefers the Civic Hall over the new venue. "The Civic Hall - that was the Grand Slam of Darts."[12]

There have also been some memorable concerts. Morrissey played his first solo performance at the Civic Hall on 22 December 1988.[13] Nirvana performed All Apologies for the first time before a live audience at the Civic Hall on 6 November 1991[14] and Louise Redknapp performed there on the final date of her Soft and Gentle Tour on 18 December 1997.[15] More recently, the Welsh rock band, the Manic Street Preachers, gave a concert in June 2015.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Historic England. "Civic Hall, City of Wolverhampton (1207355)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Parker, Bev. "The Story of Wolverhampton's Civic and Wulfrun Hall". Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Wolverhampton Civic Hall". AJ Buildings Library. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Slade guitarist Dave Hill on new Facebook campaign for Noddy Holder to rejoin the band". Birmingham Mail. 31 January 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Madeley, Peter (1 March 2019). "Civic Halls reopening delayed to 2021". Express and Star. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Wolverhampton Civic Hall". Cinema Organs. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  7. ^ Averty, Jack. "'No alternative': Wolverhampton Council defends decision to scrap historic organ pipes". Express & Star. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  8. ^ Averty, Jack. "Revealed: Wolverhampton Council dumped Civic Hall organ pipes without 'full asbestos checks'". Express & Star. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Davidson on the offensive at fave venue". Express and Star. 17 September 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Wrestling from Wolverhampton Civic Hall (1972)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  11. ^ Parkes, Thomas. "GALLERY: Grand Slam of Darts returns to Wolverhampton". expressandstar.com. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  12. ^ TungstenTales (10 November 2018), Grand Slam of Darts 2018 - Gary Anderson believes the Grand Slam should return to the Civic Hall!, retrieved 15 November 2018
  13. ^ "Wolverhampton Civic Hall". Passions Like Mine. 22 December 1988. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  14. ^ "The night Nirvana came to Wolverhampton". expressandstar.com. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Louise Redknapp Setlists". setlists.fm. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  16. ^ "What time is the Manic Street Preachers' concert in Cardiff Castle? Door opening times and info on when the Manics are on stage". Wales Online. 28 May 2015.

External links[edit]