Aberdeen’s iconic Music Hall has been given a Buildings Repair Grant to the tune of £222,062 in the latest round of funding announced by Historic Scotland.
The much-loved city centre venue, built in 1820, is still at the musical heart of the city with more than 100,000 visitors per year but requires some essential repairs to ensure its continued use.
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.
In announcing the funding the 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 £7m redevelopment plan to revitalise and preserve the venue for generations to come.
The company – which also operates His Majesty’s Theatre and The Lemon Tree – has now secured pledges totalling £4.5m for the project, including £1.5m funding from Creative Scotland, £1m from Aberdeen City Council, £700,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1.25m from APA’s own restoration fund – money raised by the general public through ticket sales.
“This is a ringing endorsement of our project,” said APA chief executive Jane Spiers. “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 almost 200 years and we want to make sure it's there for the next 200.”