Victoria Hall - Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Poole/Freeman
N 53° 01.377 W 002° 10.521
30U E 555312 N 5875141
Quick Description: The Victoria Hall is located on Bagnall Street in the Cultural Quarter of Hanley.
Location: West Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/16/2019 9:51:28 AM
Waymark Code: WM10CZM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 1

Long Description:
The Victoria Hall was built in 1888 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The classical Grade II listed building is built in local red brick and terracotta. (visit link) The venue has been the scene of numerous concerts and rock gigs and has a capacity of 1,500.

"The Victoria Hall was constructed as an annex to Hanley Town Hall in 1888, as part of the city's celebrations for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Originally the building had a capacity of 2800 people, but this has since been reduced considerably to 1,500 as seating replaced wooden forms and benches. The original building was made of red brick and terracotta, and designed by local borough surveyor Joseph Lobley.
As an adjunct to the town hall, the building originally had minimal front-of-house facilities. To remedy this, an extension was constructed in 1999 as part of the development of the Cultural Quarter, providing a new entrance space with information desk and a café. This extension also houses administration for the Ambassador Theatre Group, who operate the venue and the nearby Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent. Until 2011, the local Tourist Information Centre was housed here also." Source: (visit link)

"This large building, with its decorative façade and shoe-box proportions, is the Victoria Hall, Hanley, a popular venue for concert-goers and wrestling fanatics alike.
The foundation stone was laid in August, 1887, and the Hall officially opened on October 4th, 1888. The opening ceremony appears to have been one of those grand and prolonged occasions the Victorians loved, starting in the Sessional Court with Councillor Charlesworth presenting the key to the Hall to his Worship, the Mayor. This was followed by a procession to the Victoria Hall where an invited audience took part in a ceremony consisting of the National Anthem, 17 speeches, and four organ pieces. Next day, there was a "grand organ recital" by A. L. Peace, organist of Glasgow Cathedral, and, on the Saturday, another organ recital, billed as "People's Popular Night", and performed by J. Kendrick Pyne, organist of Manchester Cathedral.
On October 11th, the first North Staffordshire Musical Festival, a charity concert in aid of the North Staffs. Infirmary, and the Haywood, Leek, and Longton Cottage Hospitals, was held. The Hall was absolutely packed, the arena, balcony and gallery crowded, and in the stalls people were standing right up to the doors. Occupying the platform, which had been decorated with exotic plants, was the band, surrounding Dr. Heap, the conductor. Behind them rose rank after rank of ladies dressed in white, then the more sombre evening dress of the male vocalists, and, finally, the great organ, glittering with colour and gold.
The organ, one of the best known features of the Hall, was built by the Huddersfield firm of Conacher and presented by George Meakin. In 1922, it was rebuilt by Henry Willis, the greatest British organ-builder of his time, who was also responsible for the organs at Liverpool and Westminster Cathedrals.
The superb acoustics of the Hall are another great asset, and have not only served the needs of our fine local choirs but also attracted artists of international repute. Among many famous names are Joachim, Busoni, Madame Patti, McCormack, Gigli, Tauber and Robeson. Well-known composers of the day were commissioned to write works especially for the festivals; in 1896, Elgar's "King Olaf' received its first performance here.' Neville Malkin 5th May 1976"
SOURCE: (visit link)

The organ of Victoria Hall, Hanley was originally built for the Yorkshire Royal Jubilee Exhibition of 1887. The exhibition was held in Saltaire and a new organ of 34 speaking stops over 4 manuals and pedals was built by Peter Conacher of Huddersfield which was housed in a 3000 seat temporary Concert Hall. The organ was advertised for sale and was bought by George Meakin, a Hanley pottery businessman and owner of the firm J & G Meakin, who presented it to Hanley’s Town Council as a gift for their new Victoria Hall.
Victoria Hall, Hanley opened on 4th October 1888 and the opening organ recital was given on 5th October 1888 by A. L. Peace, organist of Glasgow Cathedral. A second recital was given the day after by J. Kendrick Pyne, organist of Manchester Cathedral.
In 1922 the organ was considerably rebuilt and enlarged by the famous organ builder, Henry Willis. The organ was enlarged to 62 stops with the addition of several solo stops, a division of Trombas on the Great Organ, a powerful pedal Ophicleide and a new solo Tuba on 18” wind pressure. Further work was undertaken by J.H. Cowin of Liverpool (a former employee of Henry Willis) in the early 1960’s which included renovations and tonal changes to suit the fashion of the times.
The then City Organist Dr. Sidney Welé gave weekly concerts and the instrument attracted famous organists including Lmare, Hollins, Gigout and Dupré.
Major restoration and rebuilding work was carried out in 1988 by Hill, Norman & Beard at a cost of over £200,000 and the tonal scheme was restored to the 1922 specification. In 1998 David Wells Organ Builders Ltd. cleaned and re-commissioned the organ after a major renovation and extension of Victoria Hall.
The organ now has 72 stops with over 4,400 pipes (Full specification below) and continues to be cared for by David Wells Organ Builders Ltd. and the Victoria Hall in conjunction with the Victoria Hall Organ Consultant Michael Rhodes. SOURCE: (visit link)
Website: [Web Link]

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