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Big tent for scouse weddings outside St George's Hall

Grade I landmark looks for money-making ideas

Written by . Published on December 13th 2014.


Big tent for scouse weddings outside St George's Hall
 

A BIG tent outside St George’s Hall to host scouse weddings and a market in historic St John’s Gardens are on the horizon as the popularity of the “world’s biggest village hall” grows.

They are just two of the proposals being put forward in a bid to maximise income for the Prince of Wales’ favourite building, in a report from the hall’s manager, Alan Smith.

It will be discussed at the city’s Cultural  and Tourism Select Committee on Tuesday night (Dec 16).

This year over 1,000 weddings have taken place at St George’s Hall since the Registrar’s Office moved from Old Hall Street – up 27 percent.

The hall, says the report, wants to build on the potential trade with some wedding bells and whistles for couples tying the knot. Catering, wedding breakfasts and evening parties in the south heritage end of the building are all being considered. 

Marches

The hall wants to buy a marquee, costing around £75,000, but this could more than earn its keep generating over £100,000 in income over the year, the report claims. The marquee, it goes on, could be hired out for general use and other events, potentially increasing  the hall’s revenue.

Many of the hall’s events utilise the cobblestone plateau, ranging from protest marches, vigils, celebrations and events that start or finish at the hall. But Mr Smith warns that this could limit the use of the plateau as a market venue.  Consultations will take place about switching markets to St John’s Gardens.

Visitors to the heritage centre at St George’s Hall increased this year to 250,000, making the venue one of the city’s top 10 attractions.

Slider1A marquee costing £75,000 would be available for hire outside St George's Hall

A funding bid is to be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund to boost the number of exhibitions held there. Spaces that have not been used for 166 years are now open. As well as six gallery spaces the vast catacombs beneath the hall are finally being used again. It gives visitors the chance to view what was the innovative world’s first large scale central heating system.

The Friends of St George’s Hall have already committed £20,000 towards the cost of repair work to the historic Minton tiled floor, viewed only a handful of times in the past century. On St George’s Day in 2015 a formal dinner is to be held at the hall to help raise more funding for the Minton floor work, and also to act as a launch-pad for the lottery fund bid.

Talks are also taking place with the World Monument Fund for a symposium to take place in Liverpool on the restoration of listed buildings.

The trustees of the hall have also recently invested £46,000 on repair work to the Willis organ, hailed as one of the finest organs in the world. A gift aid scheme has been introduced to raise more funds for organ restoration work, but the improvements already carried out have been greeted with “great critical acclaim”,  says Mr Smith.

 

The Minton Tile FloorThe Minton Tile Floor

Mr Smith adds: “The hall is developing strong bespoke programmes and is discovering new and dynamic ways to enhance the halls offer and to accommodate more frequent use of the building.”

As part of a strategic plan for the St George’s Quarter, a scheme has been proposed that will see the plateau extending into Lime Street towards the Empire Theatre and the North Western Halls.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

John BradleyDecember 13th 2014.

Be nice if they didn't go for the most twee tent around something art deco looking rather than Gothic. On Blackpool tower there is the Walk of Faith with the thick perspex floor, wouldn't it be better if the floor was protected by something like that, so people could see it?

mickeydrippinDecember 13th 2014.

I was under the impression the Registrar's office was to move again to other premises just north of the city centre. The reason given was parking problems for wedding cars in the vicinity of St George's Hall but maybe that has been resolved at the office is now staying put.

AnonymousDecember 13th 2014.

St Johns Gardens is still the burial ground of the now demolished St Johns Church and is by definition consecrated land with the remains of many still interned there. Nothing to do with St Georges Hall, what next markets in all the Council maintained cemeteries!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyDecember 13th 2014.

Well for those of us who don't believe in magic spells, it really isn't a problem.

B. ElzebubDecember 13th 2014.

I'm warming a seat for you already, Bradley...

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