Bristol

Bristol's Colston Hall demolition work begins

Colston Hall, Bristol
Image caption Colston Hall is due to reopen in 2020 under a new name to end the association with slave-trader Edward Colston

Demolition work has begun on a 1950s Bristol concert venue which is being revamped.

Colston Hall shut its doors in June as part of a two-year £48.8m plans to redesign the venue's 1950s interior.

It is due to reopen in 2020 under a new name to end the association with slave-trader Edward Colston.

Louise Mitchell, from Bristol Music Trust which runs the hall, said: "It's absolutely brilliant that we're finally getting going on this project."

Image copyright Paul Box
Image caption Demolition work has begun on the 1950s stage and the overhanging balcony
Image copyright Paul Box
Image caption The Beatles, David Bowie, Elton John, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong Motorhead and Bob Dylan have all performed at Colston Hall over the past 60 years

Ms Mitchell said an "awful lot" of the 1950s interior was being stripped out to create a concert hall that was "actually fit for purpose".

"It'll be more comfortable. It'll be temperature controlled and it'll be more attuned to the needs of 21st Century audiences," she said.

"We need something that works but also to restore the building to its natural elegance, which I think has been lost a little bit over the last little while."

Image copyright Paul Box
Image caption The venue's unique 1950s lighting has been carefully removed and put into storage to protect it while building works take place
Image copyright Bristol Music Trust
Image caption Ms Mitchell said: "We're stripping out an awful lot of the 1950s interior, creating a concert hall that is actually fit for purpose."

Will Scriven, from DSM Demolition Group, said there were a "lot of challenges" with the project.

"The listed side of the project is extremely delicate. The structure is old, been used and abused over the years, and so there are certain elements where there's risk involved in taking the newer structure from within that structure," he said.

"And it's on so many different levels. There's seven levels so we make sure nothing falls through to the level below, obviously."

Colston Hall is owned by the city council and run by the charity Bristol Music Trust.

Image copyright Bristol Music Trust
Image caption A community consultation is under way to decide on the new name of Colston Hall when it reopens

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