Grand Central Hall - Liverpool, UK

Bradshaw and Gass
Date Built
Opened 1905
Renshaw Street & Upper Newington Street
At the beginning of the 20th century the Methodist Church commissioned the building of around 99 "Central Halls" in UK cities.  Dr. Angela Connelly, of the Manchester Architecture Research Centre, says that only 18 of these building are still in the possession of the Methodist church, 27 of them have been lost to demolition or war damage, the rest decorate our city centres, although few passers-by would suspect that they were once churches.  This isn't surprising since the intention was to provide, " ... something more modern in an attempt to reach the religiously indifferent and economically disadvantaged. They were to be centres of civic life: not just for worship but for entertainment, leisure and education capable of seating up to 2,500 worshipers.  Their design was deliberately different from conventional church architecture to appeal to non-churchgoers."

The Grand Central Hall in Liverpool is a wonderful example. The "Liverpool Monuments" website says that, "It was designed as a new kind of church, looking more like a department store and the ground floor was always intended to contain sub-let shops or other businesses. Pevsner describes the architectural style as promiscuously mixing 'Classical, Byzantine, Gothic and Jacobean'. "  Throughout its 108 years it has had a variety of functions.  In 1908, it became one of Liverpool’s first cinemas called The New Century Picture Hall.  In 1933 the old Liverpool Philharmonic Hall was destroyed by fire so the orchestra moved in the Grand Central Hall for a period of 6 years until their new concert hall was completed.  The Methodist Church sold the hall in 1990 and since then it has seen a number of refurbishments.  According to the Liverpoolvision website, the, "Rawhide comedy club became resident in the hall during 2005 and, most recently, it has been used by Quiggins shopping centre. ... A new performance space is set to open in a historic Liverpool city centre landmark.  The Dome is based in the Grade II listed Central Hall former Methodist church, in Renshaw Street. ....

.... The 1,200-seater venue is expected to host a mixture of live performance from touring bands to theatre, stand- up comedy and variety nights,"
and judging by the poster above, wrestling!

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