Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool: Wikis


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Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Location: Hope Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, England
Coordinates: 53°24′04″N 2°58′12″W / 53.4012°N 2.9701°W / 53.4012; -2.9701Coordinates: 53°24′04″N 2°58′12″W / 53.4012°N 2.9701°W / 53.4012; -2.9701
Built: 1939
Built for: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society
Architect: Herbert J. Rowse
Architectural style(s): Art Deco
Listed Building – Grade II*
Designated: 19 March 1981
Reference #: 214294
Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool is located in Merseyside
Location in Merseyside

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is a concert hall in Hope Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, England. It is the home of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society and is a Grade II* listed building.[1] It is not the original concert hall on the present site; its predecessor was destroyed by fire in 1933 and the present hall was opened in 1939.


Original hall

The Liverpool Philharmonic Society was founded in 1840 but initially did not have a permanent concert hall.[2] In 1844 the Liverpool architect John Cunningham was appointed to prepare plans for a hall. The initial requirement was for a "concert room" holding an audience of 1,500 which would cost at least £4,000 (£310 thousand as of 2010).[3] However, later that year the requirement was increased to a "new concert hall" to accommodate an audience of 2,100 and an orchestra of 250, plus "refreshment and retiring rooms". Subscribers were invited to both buy shares and to purchase seats along the sides of the hall.[4] The foundation stone was laid in 1846 and plans were made for Mendelssohn to write a cantata to be played in his presence at the opening of the hall. However Mendelssohn did not live long enough to write this work.[5]

The hall cost £30,000 (£2.36 million as of 2010)[3] and was opened on 27 August 1849.[6] The Times correspondent reported that it was "one of the finest and best adapted to music that I ever entered".[7] An organ was installed in the hall in 1930 at a cost of £2,000 (£90 thousand as of 2010).[3] The concert hall continued to be the home of the society until a fire broke out during the evening of 5 July 1933. As a result the hall was damaged beyond repair.[8] The hall was insured and the insurers paid £84,000 (£4.27 million as of 2010)[3] for the hall itself, £9,503 (£480 thousand as of 2010)[3] for other assets, and £6,000 (£310 thousand as of 2010)[3] for the loss of two years' rental.[9]

Present hall



Herbert J. Rowse was commissioned to design a new hall on the site of the previous hall. Rouse's design was in art deco style.[10] It incorporated an organ built by the Liverpool firm of Rushworth and Dreaper with a console which can be lowered from the stage.[11] The hall was officially opened on 19 June 1939 with a concert conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. The final cost of the hall was a little over £120,000 (£5.33 million as of 2010)[3] and the architect was paid £6,869 (£310 thousand as of 2010).[3][12] An extension was added to the rear of the hall which was completed in 1992, designed by Brock Carmichael Associates.[13] A major refurbishment of the hall was carried out in 1995 at a cost of £10.3 million.[14] This included the complete replacement of the fibrous plaster interior with concrete, carried out again by Brock Carmichael, working with the acoustic consultants Lawrence Kirkegaard Associates.[13]


The hall is built with fawn-coloured facing bricks, and is mainly in three storeys. It has a symmetrical frontage with a canopied entrance flanked by semicircular stair turrets. Above the entrance are seven windows that are separated by piers surmounted by carved abstract motifs. Outside the hall and separated from it are two piers for the display of posters.[1] The architectural historians Pollard and Pevsner and the author of the description in Images of England all agree that the design of the hall was influenced by the Dutch architect W. M. Dudok.[1][13]

The windows above the canopy contain glass etched by Hector Whistler. Inside the entrance to the hall is a copper memorial to the musicians of the Titanic by J. A. Hodel, and on the landings are gilded reliefs of Apollo by Edmund C. Thompson.[13] The interior of the auditorium is "sensuously curved".[13] On the walls on each side are incised female figures in art deco style that represent "musical moods", also by Thompson. On the back wall above the platform is a kinetic structure, called Adagio, designed by Marianne Forrest in 1995.[13]

The hall contains an organ built by Rushworth and Dreaper, with a console on a lifting platform that can be played on the stage or from the area below the stage, and a Waldurdaw rising cinema screen.[15]

Current use

The hall stages about 250 events each year, over 60 of which are concerts of classical music. The other shows include music of all genres, comedians, and films shown on the Walturdaw screen.[16] Tours of the hall are arranged,[17] and the hall can he hired for corporate or private events, including weddings.[18]

See also

Architecture of Liverpool


  • Henley, Darren; McKernan, Vincent (2009), The Original Liverpool Sound: The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, ISBN 978-1-84631-224-3  
  • Pollard, Richard; Nikolaus Pevsner (2006). The Buildings of England: Lancashire: Liverpool and the South-West. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0 300 10910 5.  

External links


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