Future of Queen's Hall concert venue secured

The future of one of Edinburgh's most popular concert halls was secured today after it won £650,000 worth of backing for the first phase of a long-awaited makeover.

The Queen's Hall has been a key player on Edinburgh's music scene since 1979.
The Queen's Hall has been a key player on Edinburgh's music scene since 1979.

A full restoration of the fabric of the Queen's Hall which be carried out in time for its 40th anniversary in 2019 is expected to prolong its life by another 50 years.

The funding is also expected to pave the way for a further £3 million worth of improvements, which are hoped to be completed in time for the Georgian building's 200th anniversary in 2023.

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The current home of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, it is the only major venue in the city to host live music events for the Edinburgh International Festival, the Fringe and the city's jazz and blues festival.

The support from the Scottish Government and Historic Scotland is a major of vote of confidence in the venue, which has suffered a series of setbacks over its refurbishment plans over the last 15 years.

The financial backing, which will pay for masonry, windows, doors and the roof to be renovated, has also been confirmed months after plans emerged for brand new 1000-seater concert hall in the New Town, which is being led by the SCO.

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop, who visited the venue today, said: “I am delighted to announce the £650,000 grant for building improvements to the Queen’s Hall, a much-loved part of Edinburgh’s performance history.

"It is a firm favourite with performers and audiences throughout the year including Edinburgh’s International, Fringe, and jazz and blues festival.

“As we celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the funding will ensure the historic building is in a good state of repair."

Nigel Griffiths, chair of the Queen’s Hall board, said: “We are delighted with this vote of confidence in the future of the Queen’s Hall.

"We look forward to completing these important heritage works, which pave the way to an even brighter future and the celebration in 2019 of the 40th anniversary of the Queen’s Hall as a world class concert hall.”

Gavin Reid, chief executive of the SCO, said: “We are immensely grateful to the Scottish Government and Historic Environment Scotland for this important funding to support the Queen’s Hall. It will be welcomed by everyone in the Orchestra, our audience and by all the staff at the Queen’s Hall.”