During the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries, Liverpool developed rapidly.
Civic pride grew as the city prospered and as a consequence, a venue was needed to host impressive music festivals. In tandem, there was a pressing need for crown courts and civic courts of various sizes. The council decided to combine both projects and so the concept of St George’s Hall was born.
The Hall was the vision of Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, and, although young, produced a magical concept to add spice to the design with the addition of the incredible 500 seat Concert Room.
St George’s Hall is a truly unique building in concept, design, and vision. The Victorians held nothing back in their ambition to create this work of art.
Elmes took inspiration from the Roman and Greek empires, creating a neoclassical Greek-Romano building, now classed as one of the finest in the world. It is an intrinsic part of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Hall has held thousands of events over the years, many of which are iconic, receiving international acclaim. Among such events are Liverpool’s Remembrance Sunday Services, with the National Theatre making a poignant tribute with an appearance by Joey the ‘War Horse’ in 2017. Other events include the iconic Weeping Window poppies feature which had originally been shown at the Tower of London, and Royal de Luxe’s world-renowned Giant Spectacular events, which were ran in conjunction with Culture Liverpool. The Hall also plays a part in major art festivals, including Liverpool Biennial and Light Night where major art works and interpretations are positioned throughout the venue.
The Hall is also fortunate to have a world renowned Willis concert organ, with recitals still taking place to this day within this majestic space, with its barrel vaulted ceiling and the peerless encaustic tiled Minton Floor.
The Hall is recognised as the emotional heart of Liverpool; it is where all the memorable moments of the city’s life converge.
Famous visitors to the building include Queen Victoria in 1851 who said the building was ‘worthy of ancient Athens’, Charles Dickens who gave a number of public readings in the Concert Room and claimed it to be ‘the most perfect Hall in the world’ and Liverpool-born Prime Minister William Gladstone, who was awarded the Freedom of the City in the Hall in 1892.
In 1984, when the law courts of Liverpool were relocated to Derby Square, the Hall was ‘mothballed’ and fell into a state of disrepair. Following a £23m restoration project, completed in 2007, the Hall was reopened on St George’s Day that year by another of its admirers, Prince Charles, and has become a grand focal point for cultural, community, civic, corporate and performing arts activities once again.