A Leeds heritage project hoped to protect and restore Leeds Town Hall’s Victoria Hall has received a major funding boost this week.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has pledged a grant of £249,810 toward the scheme, which will restore the main decorative features of the performance space, including the façade of the Leeds Town Hall organ.

The original Victorian designs on the walls, columns and doors of the hall date back to 1858, and over the years have become damaged through a combination of environmental pollution and what the National Lottery Heritage Fund described as “insensitive renovations in the 1950s and 60s”. The damage has resulted in features being hidden from public view.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s investment will see the full repair and renewal of the more than 6,000 façade pipes on the Leeds Town Hall organ, which is one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

The project will also see a team of specialist decorative artists strip back layers of dirt, dust, and urban pollution to reveal an earlier artistic vision for the hall.

Work will also focus on fully restoring the decorative scheme on the Leeds Town Hall organ which includes intricate hand painted stencil designs on all the instrument’s façade pipes which have been hidden for decades.

Restoration works will take place during the planned closure of the building.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education described Leeds Town Hall as “one of Leeds’s most recognisable buildings and an absolutely integral part of the city’s story and identity”.

He continued: “The town hall is also a focal point for an extensive and diverse programme of events which not only generate income for the city but also help put Leeds on the map as a world class cultural destination.”

The local Leeds community will be encouraged to get involved with the project, including a partnership with Pyramid of Arts, an arts collective that supports young people and adults with learning disabilities.

Chartered Institute of Fundraising October 2021
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund spoke during a tour of the area. 

She said: “The message I have heard repeated throughout our visit this week has been the importance of collaboration. 

“I have seen the power of heritage as a driver for positive social and economic change, supporting communities who have so much to gain from engaging in it.” 

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