Historic Swansea Albert Hall set for £7m regeneration

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Sustainable living specialists, LoftCo, has revealed it will undertake work to preserve Swansea’s grade II listed Albert Hall

LoftCo plans to undertake work to the value of £7m to preserve the former Victorian music hall, Albert Hall, for future generations.

LoftCo has been working with Swansea Council to secure significant grant funding from another party. The council also provided loan funding via its ‘Town Centre Loan’ fund to support the acquisition of the property.

Simon Baston, director of LoftCo, purchased the grade II listed building at the end of last month (April) and is now ready to move ahead with the work.

Work is expected to take 18 months and will see the large, prominent structure of Albert Hall become a music venue with capacity for 900 people. The existing architectural profile will be maintained.

It is also planned that the new-style Albert Hall will include a rooftop bar, serviced apartments and around 2,000 sq m of office space.

Simon Baston said: “I’m thrilled to acquire the Albert Hall from its private owners – and I look forward to making it a location which the people of Swansea can enjoy and be proud of.

“It has a wonderful heritage and now has an exciting future.”

Essential part of the community

Council leader Rob Stewart, said: “I’m delighted that another landmark building will be brought back to life and saved for future generations; it reaffirms that Swansea city centre has a great future, helped by hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment from the private and public sectors.

“The Albert Hall – like the Palace Theatre that’s also being saved by the council – is important to the city. It has been an essential part of the community and its social life for a century and a half.

“Although the Albert Hall it isn’t owned by the council and so the future is a matter for its owners, we have been working hard to support efforts to secure public sector funding for the building as part of the ongoing city regeneration.

“The council continues to work with the Welsh Government towards securing funding and options for a sustainable future use for this special building.

“This acquisition and proposed redevelopment demonstrates that – despite the coronavirus crisis – there’s still confidence in Swansea city centre and a need for modern, flexible, living and working space here.”

History of Albert Hall

The stone-built Albert Hall, complete with its three-storey auditorium, stands on the corner of the city centre De-La Beche Street and Cradock Street.

It opened in 1864 as a public assembly and concert venue known as The Music Hall, Swansea, with a 2,500 capacity.

It became the Albert Hall in 1882 in honour of the Queen’s Consort and survived for a total of 143 years before closing in 2007.

From its use as a concert hall and music hall on opening in 1864, it became a silent movie cinema in 1922 and switched to talkies in 1929. It became a bingo hall in 1978 and is now unused, unmaintained, unheated, unventilated and is deteriorating.

1 COMMENT

  1. Encouraging news that the building is to host public performance again. It is imperative that the architectuctural features of the building and of the auditorium in particular, dating from its conversion to a cinema in 1922, are retained in any future scheme. The building is in reasonably good condition given that it has been derelict for over ten years, mainly because former owners Mecca Bingo put a new roof on the building during their occupation. The Cinema Theatre Association will follow the new proposals with interest.

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