01 December 2011
This month our thoughts turn to the holiday season, and with it traditional forms of entertainment such as pantomines and carol concerts. These all need a venue to take place in, and our theme for December is the UK’s rich heritage of performance spaces. Some of our most interesting and unusual historic buildings are in this category: take, for example, the Britannia Music Hall in Glasgow. Hidden away above an amusement arcade, this extraordinarily evocative space was home to some of the greatest acts of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, including a young Stan Laurel. It also apparently was home to one of the most raucous and difficult to please audiences in theatrical history! Now being lovingly restored by a charitable trust, it is well worth a visit on one of their open days or special events.
A very different cultural venue is the magnificent Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. Home of the city’s Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the ‘Phil’, as it is universally known, has seen appearances from some of the world’s finest musicians, and it features in one of the exemplar walks in our ‘Walk the World’ project with the Royal Geographical Society, which we launched in November. This project aims to find links between the UK’s built and natural environment and all 206 Olympic and Paralympic Nations – an ambitious task, but one we know we can achieve with your help.
Whilst many UK cities have built new entertainment venues in the last twenty years, others have invested in the restoration of important buildings, not least the Ulster Hall in Belfast, subject of a multi-million pound project masterminded by Belfast architect Dawson Stelfox, also notable as the first Irishman to climb Everest! Wherever you venture during this month of sparkle and festivities, we hope you will let us know about your latest discoveries.
Loyd Grossman, Chair, The Heritage Alliance.
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