Two local trusts have unveiled ambitious plans to floodlight two of Harrogate’s most iconic structures.
A £400,000 scheme to light up the facade of the Royal Hall and the town’s war memorial is being proposed in a joint project between the Royal Hall Restoration Trust and the newly formed Harrogate and District Improvement Trust.
These Grade ll* listed structures are much admired locally and from further afield and the floodlighting plans have already received financial help from Harrogate Borough Council to support a feasibility study.
The proposals are currently the subject of a planning consultation with the council and preliminary discussions are taking place with interested bodies including the Harrogate Branch of the Royal British Legion, the Civic Society and the Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce. The initial reactions have been positive especially as the proposals could lead to wider night time mood lighting in the town centre and a safer and more welcoming environment outside daylight hours.
Russell Davidson, who chairs both Trusts, said:
This is a very important year as it marks the centenary of the end of the First World War; the centenary of women first getting the vote; the centenary of the death of Sir Hubert Parry, who conducted the Royal Hall’s opening concert in 1903; and the 10th anniversary of the restoration of the Royal Hall.
What better way for Harrogate to mark these important dates than to light up these cherished landmarks? The Royal Hall Restoration Trust is limited to improving the Royal Hall so to achieve the proposals for the war memorial the Harrogate and District Improvement Trust has been formed.
Russell Davidson says that months of planning have resulted in some beautiful creative designs. He added: “A number of specialist professionals have given their time and expertise including Chartered Landscape Architect and Urban Designer Peter Owens, winner of the Landscape Institute’s award for best large scale development for the Royal Stoke University Hospital. Also working on the project are Stainton Lighting whose past projects include Middlesbrough’s war memorial and the Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage site.
Russell Davidson added:
I think both companies have done a brilliant job. In regards to the war memorial, the simple illumination to make it look like a sword coupled with the option of a red surround during poppy week is restrained and moving.
I would also like to thank Heritage and Planning Consultant Colin Haylock who is a Past President of the Royal Town Planning Institute. We will be liaising with English Heritage as the project progresses and Colin’s guidance at this early stage has been invaluable.
The Royal Hall is unique in that it still has its ambulatory. When the Hall was refurbished in 2008, the lighting of the ambulatory wasn’t seen as a significant priority but now there is the opportunity to include it in this project. The scheme, which will significantly improve the ambulatory to bring it up to the level of the wonderful atmosphere in the Theatre itself, has been sensitively developed by Brilliant Lighting of Thirsk whose projects range from country houses and stately homes, conversions and renovations through to very contemporary new builds.
The Floodlighting Appeal will be formally launched at the I Was Glad Parry Centenary Concert being held in the Royal Hall on Thursday 15 November 2018. This concert is a collaboration between the Harrogate Choral Society, the Royal Hall Restoration Trust and Exeter College Choir. Parry studied at Oxford’s Exeter College and its choir is internationally recognised as one of the leading chapel choirs, with a particular emphasis on Parry.
The programme will be mainly based on the music of Sir Hubert Parry who himself conducted the opening night concert at the Royal Hall (formerly the Kursaal) on 27 May 1903.
The full lighting project proposals can be viewed at www.royalhallrestorationtrust.org.uk