The Royal Hall, Harrogate
This year’s GEHS excursion took us to the splendid Royal Hall, Harrogate and was accompanied by super weather. The event was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who also appreciated the spacious coach as well as its air conditioning.
The Royal Hall is a Grade II listed performance Hall and theatre and was opened in 1903 as the Kursaal. The word Kursaal is from the German name for a public building, at a spa, in which entertainment is provided. The Hall was built on the site of the Cheltenham Pump Room. Due to the public’s feelings in 1914 the building became known as the Royal Hall.
Our knowledgeable guide gave us an excellent tour bringing the building to life. This glittering palace, with all its gold and red velvet curtains was definitely worth a visit. The dress circle is supported by a cantilever system rather than lots of pillars. This improved the views of the stage.
The building was fitted with electric lighting throughout, and most of the lights in the auditorium are the original ones. An early kind of air conditioning system was built into the structure. Over the rear balcony there was a sliding roof to let smoke out and fresh air in. The boxes around the auditorium have shutters which could be raised so that people could see and hear daytime concerts, which still work today.
Due to safety issues the Royal Hall had to close in 2002 and it is only due to the efforts of the Royal Hall Restoration Trust that the building and its programme of events still exists. The building was re-opened on 21st January 2008 by Trust Patron HRH Prince of Wales.
Following this wonderful tour, there was time to explore Harrogate and its many features.
Thanks go out to Rose Gilmour for organising this special event.