Music Hall lands major grant for repair work

The Music Hall, Aberdeen
The Music Hall, Aberdeen

Aberdeen’s Music Hall has been given a major repair grant in the latest round of funding announced by Historic Scotland.

The much-loved venue, built in 1820, is still at the musical heart of the city with more than 100,000 visitors a year but requires essential repairs.

The Building Repair Grants Scheme exists to give financial aid to owners of buildings of special architectural or historical interest, in order to meet the cost of high-quality repairs, using traditional materials and specialist craftsmen, to conserve original features.

Announcing funding of more than £220,000, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “We are incredibly lucky in Scotland to have a built heritage which is the envy of the world.

“By investing in these important buildings we are not just ensuring the protection of these vital connections to our past but also investing in projects which can play a prominent role in the future of their communities, by acting as cultural hubs or by creating jobs and attracting visitors – bringing vital revenue into local economies.”

“The scheme demonstrates the Scottish Government’s determination that these buildings are not allowed to just gather dust or fall into disrepair. Rather they are to be protected, preserved, and made available for to all to enjoy.”

The Music Hall is run by Aberdeen Performing Art who have launched an ambitious £7 million redevelopment plan to revitalise and preserve the venue for future generations.

The company – who also operate His Majesty’s Theatre and The Lemon Tree – has now secured pledges totalling £4.5million for the project, including £1.5 million funding from Creative Scotland, £1 million from Aberdeen City Council, £700,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1.25 million from APA’s own restoration fund – money raised by the general public through ticket sales.

APA chief executive Jane Spiers said: “This is a ringing endorsement of our project.

“The Music Hall is Scotland’s concert hall in the North-east – it’s a favourite with musicians and performers all over the world from Emeli Sandé, whose earliest memory of performing is of taking to the Music Hall stage as an eight-year-old school pupil, to Sir John Barbirolli who called it ‘a beautiful space to make music with a perfect acoustic.’

“It will help us put the Music Hall at the heart of the regeneration of Union Street and at the heart of civic, cultural and community life for years to come.

“This building has been an integral part of Aberdeen’s landscape for nearly 200 years and we want to make sure it’s there for the next 200.”