The City Varieties inside. Courtesy HLF
The UK’s longest continuously running music hall and a 15th century building in Southampton have had grants totalling £6.8 million earmarked by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for their repair and restoration.
The City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds has been awarded a Stage One Pass for £3 million to restore it to its former glory. Built in 1865, the Grade II* venue is best known for hosting the BBC television programme The Good Old Days, which ran from 1953 to 1983. Some of the great names that have performed at the Hall include Charlie Chaplin, Harry Houdini and Marie Lloyd.
The music hall is relatively untouched, but the restoration work will uncover original decorations and fittings that have been concealed, and the project will also develop educational opportunities for schoolchildren and the wider community to discover the building’s history.
Outside the Varieties. Courtesy HLF
In Southampton, a museum dating back to the 15th century has been awarded £3.5 million (Stage One Pass), which will secure the landmark’s future. The Grade I listed Tudor House is one of the few timber-framed buildings to survive slum clearance and wartime bomb damage, and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It was built in about 1492, but was developed from three dwellings that date back to 1150.
The house was built for a high status merchant, and some of its illustrious residents since have included Sir Richard Lyster, England’s Chief Justice, and George Rogers, a successful 18th century gentleman artist.
In 1892 the building became Southampton’s first museum, and essential repairs and restorative work are now needed. The museum will then be able to tell its fascinating history and the story of Southampton through the ages with a fascinating collection of artefacts from medieval times to the 20th century, and a dedicated resource centre. The HLF has also awarded £334,000 in development funding.
The Tudor house. Courtesy HLF
“Both these buildings are held in great affection,” said Carole Souter, Director of the HLF. "This Heritage Lottery Fund investment will help ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy using them and learning about their histories.”
Wigan’s History Shop has also received a major boost with the confirmation of £500,000 from the HLF. Along with match funding of £405,000 from Wigan Council and other funds, a £1.3 million project will make the former reference library into a major heritage hub for the borough.
New museum displays and exhibitions are planned along with a full refurbishment of the building and its facilities. The building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, who also created Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London.