Harrogate’s magnificently restored Royal Hall is to develop an exciting, new role as a Visitor and Heritage centre for the town and district, thanks to a generous grant of £45,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The new facility – called the ‘Heritage Lounge’ – has been developed in partnership by Harrogate Borough Council and the Royal Hall Restoration Trust. It will feature displays, items and artefacts tracing the history of the Royal Hall and Harrogate’s rich spa and musical heritage over the generations and a repository and archive for students and scholars wanting to research matters of local historical interest.
The centre will also feature a state-of-the-art interactive audio-visual system exploring the restoration of the Royal Hall; Harrogate’s spa heritage; the important personalities who helped shape our town; eminent performers and musicians associated with Harrogate and the Royal Hall and a range of other subjects of interest. The facility will also provide a valuable resource for local schools, colleges of further education and universities, local and national historical societies and other community groups.
Councillor Don Mackenzie, Leader of the Council and Chairman of the Harrogate International Centre Board, paid tribute to the Heritage Lottery Fund for its continued support of the Royal Hall:
The district is indebted to the Fund for all it has done to help with the magnificent restoration of the Royal Hall. This recent grant of £45,000 is in addition to the £6 million given to support the restoration scheme at its outset. I acknowledge too the priceless contribution of the Royal Hall Restoration Trust, which continues to drive forward efforts to enhance the Royal Hall for the benefit of the local community. Both sides have worked closely together on this project, and the success is there for everyone to see.
The Chairman of the Trust, Russell Davidson, echoed these sentiments:
We aim to complete the project in early May so we can have it running in time for the annual conference of the Masons of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding who very generously donated £10,000 towards the cost of the works. Once this project is complete, the Trust will continue working with the council to implement further developments such as additional dressing rooms and acoustic improvements to the stage area.
Fiona Spiers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for Yorkshire and the Humber said:
This project will mean that one of the most beautifully restored buildings in Yorkshire will be brought alive with the introduction of new and exciting historic interpretation aimed to capture the imagination of all ages.