2 Ripon Road,
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Firms: Frank Matcham & Company
Previous Names: Kursaal
News About This Theater
- Mar 4, 2004 — Harrogate Royal Hall
The Royal Hall Harrogate opened on 27th May 1903, having been designed by Robert J. Beale and Frank Matcham. The original seating capacity was 1,312.
Originally known as the Kursaal, the name was changed during the 1st World War in 1914, to the Royal Hall, as ‘Kursaal’ was considered too ‘German’ for popular taste. It is a multi-purpose hall with a flat, fully sprung dance floor in the front stalls area with a stepped area of rear seating known as the Dress Circle. There is a balcony (known as the Upper Circle) around three sides of the hall. Along each side at a mezzanine level are 6 bow fronted boxes. The ceiling is very richly decorated and contains a central square dome with balustraded sides and windows. Natural light is an unusual feature of such an auditorium, reflecting its multi-purpose design, and the dome recess is augmented by a range of leaded light windows above the side balconies.
The auditorium is completely surrounded by an elegant promenade, which in truth restricts the stage, which for a hall seating nearly 1,300 is of minimal size. The proscenium opening is 30 foot wide and the stage is 36 foot deep.
A projection box was constructed at the rear of the Dress Circle shortly after opening and films were one of the main attractions in the Hall until well into the 1930’s. A lighting and sound control box occupying the same area has now replaced this.
Serious faults were recently found in the Royal Hall ‘principally the concrete in the circles is crumbling. After some debate a rescue package is almost funded to remove and replace the defective concrete and fully refurbish the Hall to its original Splendour. The Hall cost £40,000 back in the Edwardian era’ the restoration works are costed at approx. £11 million!
It is a unique and very beautiful building fully justifying its Grade II* Listed status as a building of special historic interest.
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