Victoria Hall, Stoke on Trent
Victoria Hall was built in 1888 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and by the 1930s had become conductor Sir Thomas Beecham’s favourite venue. However by the mid-1990s, although the Victoria Hall still operated as a touring venue for both pop and classical music, the interior was old and the venue did not meet modern standards of safety and comfort. It was then that the city council identified the project at Victoria Hall as part of a wider Stokes Cultural Quarter renovation.
Theatreplan worked with architects Levitt Bernstein Associates to rejuvenate the Victorian concert hall. To improve comfort, safety and accessibility throughout the venue, the original number of 2,800 seats was reduced. Flexibility for larger events was gained by incorporating removable stalls seats to accommodate 1600 standing patrons when required.
Backstage facilities were improved for performers and technical staff alike. New sound, lighting, communications and stage rigging equipment were designed and installed and new control rooms built. Integrated lighting and sound equipment was also installed in the auditorium and accessible lighting bridges were introduced, providing a safer working environment.
The refurbishment means that it can now be used for a range of music events, including symphony, choral and school concerts, through to trade fairs, touring theatre and community events. The success of the redevelopment scheme saw it chosen as one of fifteen projects to be included in the joint CABE/English Heritage publication ‘Building in Context’ to represent the best examples of designing in historic areas.
“The building is considered to be a major success in terms of its functioning. In architectural history terms it may be considered the most significant work in North Staffordshire for three and a half decades.”
Dave Chetwyn of Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
- Civic Trust Award