Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index
BBC World Service | Learning English | Beyond the Postcard - Belfast
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

You are in: Learning English > Watch and Listen > Beyond the Postcard > Belfast audio
Learning English - Beyond the Postcard
  Belfast audio

Ulster Hall
The Ulster Hall was built in 1862 as a venue for popular entertainment. It has a distinctive organ and over the years it has seen many forms of entertainment from classical and rock concerts to political meetings and boxing matches.

Listen to the interview with Pat Falls, manager of the Ulster Hall, then choose the correct words for each gap from the selections on the right.

  Belfast Manager Pat Falls in the Ulster Hall
Choose the correct words
The birth of the Ulster Hall
Going back to the middle of the 19th Century the (...1...) of entertainers coming to Belfast had greatly improved but the adequacy of the halls that were available at the time, the maximum we could get in was about 900 people. So the Ulster Hall company was formed in 1859, to develop a new hall and that was the Ulster Hall which was built in 1862. The halls previously were demanding very large (...2...) for their artists, to give you some sort of idea the average price of a ticket was upward of 5 shillings which was an average week's wages at that time. So the general public were unable to gain admittance to a lot of these concerts.




How the Ulster Hall has been used
Well the first concert held in the 12th and 13th May 1862 was organised by the Classical Harmonious Society which held two concerts of the Messiah. From then on; one of the famous Victorian music hall acts of the time was a lady called Jenny Lind who appeared here around the turn of the century. That was followed later by Caruso, one of the world's most famous tenors. He was here in 1909 and I've just got some notes to the fact that he was very (...3...) Russian cigarettes, which I suppose in this day and age would be very much frowned upon and it'd be a great wonder how such a tenor could have such a great voice, smoking, so the story goes.

So in between that we've had a great variety of acts and because the hall, of it's (...4...) nature, it has removable seats, we're able to hold everything here from wrestling, to boxing, to rock concerts, pop concerts. Going back even to1888 Randolph Churchill was here and the anti home-rule movement was very much to the fore at that time and the famous line 'Ulster will fight, Ulster will be right' was the call of the day.



Rock history at the Ulster Hall
We've had quite a few rock artists but probably one that (...5...) is 1971 on the 5th March Led Zeppelin were here and it was the first ever recording of Stairway to Heaven was on the stage at the Ulster Hall and of course has become really a rock anthem throughout the world. And even up until recently we've had people coming in to actually wanting just to stand on the stage where the first chords of that song were sung. We've had the Rolling Stones, U2 were here. And I suppose now they're talking about an audience of 100,000 for U2, so at approximately 2000 here that means we could probably (...6...) U2 for 50 nights, which would be quite good, wouldn't it! 




Home for the Ulster Orchestra
Because of the unique sound quality of the Ulster Hall, it was built originally on the format of other Victorian halls in Britain like the Birmingham Town Hall and the Newcastle Town Hall and was built in the traditional 'shoebox' shape. So the the hall with its wooden ceiling has got a very unique (...7...) to it. This is very much appreciated by visiting orchestras. Sir Thomas Beecham once said it was one of the most acoustic perfect halls in Britain. So the orchestra have developed this as their home and even though they have been attracted to other modern facilities within the city they're now making their home here on a more (...8...) basis.

Links for more information
Ulster Hall
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.



Check your answers Check your answers

Audio Video Text Video Text Audio