Queen’s Hall becomes hub for council and cultural services
15 Jan 2018
The doors to the newly refurbished Queen’s Hall in Hexham re-opened to the public on Monday (15th January) marking the beginning of a new era for the historic building which now houses the town’s library, customer and visitor information centre all under one roof.
Northumberland County Council has invested £500,000 in the scheme to create a hub of council and cultural services for the local community by refurbishing the old library and transferring other council services into the venue to make them more accessible to the public.
Now residents can borrow books, use computers, pay council bills, enquire about any council services, find out about local events and attractions and get information about health all from this one stop shop location.
Queen’s Hall Arts Centre which is also housed within the building boasts a 350-seat theatre and two galleries attracting the best international and national artists from music, drama, comedy and dance and non professional shows put on by local community groups.
Councillor Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts, leisure and tourism at Northumberland County Council said: “ The scheme has involved a number of partners working together, taking customer needs into account, to strengthen community services and get the best for the town. It is great that part of this wonderful Victorian building has been given a new lease of life and the town now has a fantastic, modern and accessible service area for residents and visitors.
“There has been an element of disruption while the work was carried out and we thank all concerned for their cooperation and understanding during this time. We look forward to welcoming local residents back to the building and hope that others who haven’t used the services before will pop in and have a look around. I am sure they will be pleasantly surprised.”
The library started life in the late 1800s as a Corn Exchange, becoming a ballroom in the 1920s - its dancefloor was known for its ‘1,000 springs’ and regular dances and balls saw up to 900 people enjoying themselves there.
In the mid 1970s Northumberland County Council and the former Tynedale District Council jointly purchased the building, and the former ballroom became the town’s library.
Now the whole of the multi-use building is leased to Queen’s Hall Arts, and Northumberland County Council has been working with the trust to reconfigure this stunning space into an integrated library and information centre.
Geof Keys from Queen’s Hall Arts added:
“We’re delighted that Northumberland County Council has made these improvements to parts of the Queen’s Hall, helping to secure the building’s future as a vibrant cultural hub for both local people and visitors. These works have added to the major works carried out by ourselves over the last 15 years, transforming the Queen’s Hall into a building fit for this century whilst retaining the beauty and elegance of its Victorian origins.”
Recent work to the building has taken into account the historic features of the building and heritage colour schemes have been used to complement these. Key original features have been retained and sensitively complimented by new features such as architecturally designed staircases and glass partitions which separate some of the private and public spaces on the first floor.
Residents are being reminded that the council’s customer information centre has now relocated from Hadrian House on Market Street into the Queen’s Hall.
- The council information centre in the Queen’s Hall will be open from 9:00am - 5pm Monday - Friday.
- The library and visitor information centre will be open 9am-5pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and 9am-6pm on Monday and Friday.