The Reporter
Issue no 487, 27 January 2003
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Clothworkers' Hall to mark second centenary


Clothworkers HallThe renovation of an historic campus building is to go ahead – thanks to a £1.37m grant from The Clothworkers’ Foundation – providing state-of-the-art performance and rehearsal space for the University, city and region.

Improvements for audience and performer – an artist's impression of the renovation (left)

The upgrade of the Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall – one of the region’s best chamber music venues – will improve rehearsal and performance facilities for use by the community at all levels, from local schools, to professional companies such as Opera North. The renovation has been designed by architects Harrogate Design Group to preserve and enhance the hall’s historic features.

The University has already raised £150,000 towards the £1.8m project, and the Clothworkers’ donation means that work can now start on the building. Fundraising will continue for the remaining £300,000, which will enable the final phase of the project, the installation of a new pipe organ, to go ahead.

New performance and rehearsal space in the hall will complement the teaching and research facilities in the recently opened school of music building next door.

University Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Wilson said: “The University’s aim is to build the school of music into an international centre of excellence, and refurbishment of the concert hall is a crucial part of this visionary strategy. The Clothworkers were hugely instrumental in the foundation of the Yorkshire College and they have continued to provide generous support over more than 125 years. This latest donation is greatly appreciated.”

A former Presbyterian chapel, the building was converted for use as a concert hall to celebrate the centenary of the Yorkshire College in 1978. The latest renovation will be completed for the University’s centenary in 2004, marking one hundred years since it received its Royal Charter.

Master of the Clothworkers Company, Richard Jones, said: “We are very pleased to support this project, in view of our long-standing, close relationship with the University and we look forward to the re-opening of the concert hall as part of the University’s centenary celebrations.”

The renovation will increase audience capacity in the hall from 200 to 300, by moving the stage and restoring a gallery hidden since the original conversion. New retractable, tiered seating will provide more comfort, a better view and improved acoustics. A hardwood floor will be fitted to enhance performances and optimise acoustics and access will be brought up to modern standards. New recording and broadcasting equipment will be installed, to provide the highest quality digital sound and film reproduction, and twelve new acoustic-quality rehearsal rooms will be built in the basement below the concert hall.


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