The restoration of the Royal Hall in Harrogate has brought the venue the award of Building Project of the Year from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors at the institute’s Pro-Yorkshire awards. The venue also scooped the Conservation Category award.
The regional award qualifies the Royal Hall for a place in the national finals due to take place in London later this year.
A procurement arrangement that delivered maximum cost effectiveness certainly was the key factor in the Building Project award.
HRH Prince Charles, who reopened the Hall in January 2008 congratulated the team: “When we constantly hear about national projects being over budget and late, this was an exemplary project.”
Designed by the country’s most prolific theatre architect, Frank Matcham, the Royal Hall is the only surviving kursaal in the UK. Opened in 1903 and named the Kursaal (a German word, meaning cure hall), it was then renamed the Royal Hall to reflect a more patriotic position during the First World War.
The building celebrates Harrogate’s spa heritage and has hosted Sarah Bernhardt, the London Philharmonic, Anna Pavlova, the Beatles and John Denver.
Structural issues resulted in the building’s partial closure in 2002. Then a £6m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, plus a £2.1m funding package from Harrogate Borough Council, and a fundraising contribution of £2.7m by the Royal Hall Restoration Trust, allowed the restoration.
Since its reopening, 10 conferences, award ceremonies, drinks receptions and events such as a classic car auction and an American Wrestling event highlight the versatility of the venue.