Return of a Grand Hall

4 11 2013

Return of a Grand Hall

Its quite a weird feeling to walk through empty spaces that until only a few weeks ago were bustling with activity – anyone who visited our Print Room or Textile Study Room on the first floor would have known these spaces as combined curatorial offices and study rooms, filled with mobile shelving containing large parts of the collection, walls lined with books, and layout tables for close study of watercolours, drawings, prints or textiles. They were practical rooms serving a specific purpose, having been turned into study areas in the late 1970s, but with motley furniture, functional partition walls and a false ceiling made of unattractive ceiling tiles, they were far from aesthetically pleasing!

Fine Art study room4

However, all this is set to change as the two rooms are returned to their former glory, becoming one magnificent function room and reclaiming the name as given in the 1906-8 plans of ‘Grand Hall’.

At the time of the 1977 conversion it seems there were financial difficulties, which may explain the rather unsympathetic materials; fortunately most of the work undertaken appears to be reversible, with the major elements of the original structure and decorative scheme being in theory retrievable. The prominent mahogany doors at each end, and the parquet floors are in good condition, much of the panelled walls to dado level are intact, protected behind bookcases and hardboard, and hidden above the suspended ceiling are the original hammer beam roof trusses.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 21.22.49

Once refurbished, this huge room will serve as a lecture theatre and dedicated function room, providing the Gallery with wider venue hire options for weddings, conferences and banquets… and of course access to the Grand Hall will be via the Grand Stairs, see recent blog post: https://capitaldevelopmentwhitworth.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/opening-up-the-whitworths-19th-century-grand-staircases/

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18 03 2014
Work starts on transforming the Grand Hall | Gallery in the Park

[…] Also now gone are the partition walls that for so long had divided up the space creating the two separate study rooms for fine art and textiles, and also small central curatorial offices – the scale of the room that will be used for a variety of functions and activities is truely magnificent (see details of our plans for the new Grand Hall in a blog post last November: https://capitaldevelopmentwhitworth.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/return-of-a-grand-hall/) […]

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