Town Hall

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Birmingham Town Hall is a concert hall standing in Victoria Square in Birmingham. It is a Grade I listed building. It was originally built to house the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival; since the renovation between 2002 and 2008 it has been used for all different types of performances (from organ recitals, thru pop concerts to graduation ceremonies). The capacity of the hall is 1,100 people. It is managed by the trustees of the Symphony Hall.

The idea to build a concert hall rose when the St Philip’s Church became too small for a charitable event – Birmingham Triennial Music Festival. The location on Paradise Street was chosen and architects became Joseph Hansom and Edward Welch. Construction began on April 27, 1832 with an expected completion date of 1833. However, Hansom went bankrupt and the opening was delayed. The delayed Music Festival took on October 7, 1834. 6,000 £ organ was installed here in 1834 by William Hill. It had 4 manuals and 70 stops. By 1956 the organ had been enlarged to 90 stops. Architect Charles Edge was commissioned in 1835 to repair weaknesses to the design of the building. He was also commissioned for the extension of the building in 1837 and again in 1850. Built in brick, and faced with Marble the hall is modelled on the Temple of Castor and Pollux in Rome.

To some of the most notable events that has taken place here belong for example Charles Dickens public readings to raise money for the Birmingham and Midland Institute; premiers of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Elgar’s The Dream of Gorontius or Arthur Sullivan’s Overture di Ballo; it was home for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 1918 to 1991; in November 1880 public protest meeting took here (to support imprisoned Revd. Richard Enraght); in 1960s and 1970s many famous bands played here (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan). It was illuminated for some occasions (e.g. the coronation of King Edward VII) and decorated for the coronation of George VI.

The Hall closed in 1996 to undergo an extensive 35 million renovation. It reopened for concerts on 4 October 2007, and was officially reopened on 22 April 2008 by HRH Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. During this time the façade of the Town Hall was hidden behind the giant advertising sheets, a giant advent calendar and a large television screen during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Later other TV screen was placed on the corner of the building in Chamberlain Square. It broadcasts live the BBC One channel.
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