Hoxton Hall returned to former glory after makeover


The newly refurbished Hoxton Hall. Pic: Anders Hanson

One of the last surviving music halls, Hoxton Hall, has been given a new lease of life after a £2.5 million makeover.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, restoration works by Foster Wilson Architects to the Grade II-listed building took about a year to complete. When it re-opens soon, the hall will be used as a performance and event space for the local community.

Hayley White, former group director at Hoxton Hall told Hackney Gazette that the building was “in desperate need of repair”.

“Many of the services and electrics were well past their useable lifespan and about to expire, and the building at high risk of falling into disrepair and even disuse,” he said.

Built in 1863, it is one of only four Grade II-listed music halls left in the country. The others are Brick Lane Music Hall, Wilton’s Music Hall, and Conway Hall. It is also the only youth arts centre in Hackney.

Hoxton Hall was built by local philanthropist James Mortimer. From 1878, it was the home of the Girl’s Guild for Good Life, a group that helped ensure young girls would stay away from undesirable pastimes such as gambling and drinking.

During World War II, the hall used its basement as an air raid shelter for the local community during bombings. Incredibly, the building managed to escape the war undamaged.

The architects made improvements such as re-opening the upper and lower balconies for use. They also fitted fire surrounds, laylights and sunburners, and removed modern brick walls to reveal original cast iron windows.

A youth centre which currently occupies the building also received new facilities in the hope it will draw more members from the youth community.

Edmund Wilson, partner at Foster Wilson Architects, told Architects Journal: “The knocks, scrapes and scuffs of years of use have been left for people to see so they can enjoy a building that wears its history with pride.”

British actor Cavan Clerkin, known for his appearances in Jonathan Creek and The Inbetweeners, attended Hoxton Hall as a child in the 1970s, engaging in the activities on offer.

The venue has recently called for actors via Twitter to get involved in its latest collaboration with Almeida Theatre.

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