Articles for Mar 08

St George's Hall scoops heritage 'Oscars' double

One of Europe's finest buildings has scooped a prestigious double at a major heritage awards ceremony.

Liverpool's St George's Hall received a Civic Trust Award for the way in which its 23m refurbishment last year has transformed the Grade I neo-classical masterpiece into one of Britain's best cultural venues.

The 10-year refurbishment, funded mainly by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Liverpool City Council and led by architects Purcell Miller Tritton LLP and project managed by 2020 Liverpool, also won the City of Culture Award.

Civic Trust Award judges praised the use of local, skilled workers and use of recycled materials. They described the completed project as "A wonderful symbol of civic pride" .

Prince Charles' favourite building was one of just four venues in the North West singled out from over 400 entrants for making an outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of its environment.

The Civic Trust awards cap a remarkable year for St George's Hall since its reopening last April. So far more than 120,000 people have visited to explore its new heritage centre, see an exhibition in the new community gallery or take in a show at the magnificently restored Concert Room.

The building has also been seen by millions of people around the world thanks to the Capital of Culture opening and TV shows such as BBC Antiques Roadshow and Question Time. It is also acting as major venue for Capital of Culture events with Ken Dodd's tribute to Liverpool Laughter Makers and the Viennese Balls with the RLPO both scheduled for April.

Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council said: ''St George's Hall is now one of Liverpool's greatest cultural assets and its re-opening was easily the city's best 800th birthday present. The Civic Trust awards are well deserved. Everyone involved in the refurbishment deserves our thanks for giving the city a world class venue that will serve us all in so many ways for generations to come.''

John Pincock, managing director of 2020 Liverpool, said "We are proud to be associated with the refurbishment of St George's Hall, and delighted that this beautiful and iconic building has received the recognition it deserves."

Other Merseyside winners included The Small Animal Teaching Hospital, at Ellesmere Port and Formby Pool and Liverpool South Parkway Interchange received commendations.

What Civic Trust Award judges said about St George's Hall, Liverpool :

''Wherever possible, the renovation and refurbishment work has used salvaged and recycled materials, and local sourcing. Local craftsmen were employed, and apprentices trained to undertake traditional and specialist crafts. This was particularly appropriate in the specialist redecoration of the Small Concert Room, North Entrance Hall and staircases. The Small Concert hall has been beautifully restored to its original scheme, including gold leaf. One of the most important early Victorian interiors, it is now stunning asset to the city. As originally planned when St George's Hall was first designed, the building has played host to city functions and celebrations, especially fitting in 2008, Liverpool's year as Capital of Culture. A wonderful symbol of civic pride for an historic, internationally acclaimed city.''