The Victoria Theatre, Halifax

The Victoria Theatre at Ward's End, Halifax was designed by W. Clement Williams for the Victoria Hall Company / the Halifax Concert Hall & Public Rooms Company Limited.

The foundation stone was laid by Sir George Fisher-Smith on 6th May 1899, and the building formally opened on 8th February 1901 – the original opening had been delayed by the death of Queen Victoria. The opening concert – conducted by Dr Hans Richter – included a performance by the Hallé Orchestra which included Beethoven's Funeral March in memory of Queen Victoria.

The building cost almost £30,000.

The hall has a capacity of 2436.

The carvings around the exterior of the building are by R. Harvie. The names of composers Arne, Balft, Beethoven, Bennett, Bishop, Handel, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Parry, Purcell, Sullivan, and Wallace are carved on a band around the building.

In September of 1901, Elizabeth Porter gave a water-powered theatre organ to the town and this was installed in the Victoria Hall in memory of her brother Samuel.

In 19??, the building was known as Premier Pictures.

Until April 1953, it was used as a cinema and then as a concert hall.

In 1960, the hall was bought by Halifax Corporation for £82,000, and underwent refurbishments and renovations costing £200,000.

The Victoria Hall became

The theatre has around 1600 seats and has an occasional programme of entertainment, concerts, pantomimes, and plays

I remember a story from my childhood, that Sir John Barbirolli and the Hallé Orchestra once had such a poor reception that he refused to perform in Halifax again. Can anyone confirm this?

See George Thomas Addison and Victoria Hall Buildings, Halifax

© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 16:26 / 28th October 2023 / 4673

Page Ref: MMV15

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