BBC Music Magazine

Venue of the month

The UK’S best concert halls

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Where: Hanley, Stoke-on-trent Opened: 1888

Seats: 1,467

Amid the celebratio­ns for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, the Stoke Town Hall Committee commission­ed ‘a room capable of holding a larger number of people than any existing building in the district’. The following year the Victoria Hall was officially opened with a twoday festival of speeches and recitals on the spectacula­r organ. Originally, the room seated 2,800 people, but when wooden benches were replaced with seating, the number was reduced to the 1,467 seats of today. Thanks to the timber-framed elliptical ceiling, the hall has superb acoustics, often described as one of the best in the country for a venue of its size.

In 1999 the hall was involved in a major Cultural Quarter renovation project which saw a glass extension added, housing a new entrance with informatio­n desk and a café. The Victoria Hall enjoys regular visits from the Hallé and BBC Philharmon­ic orchestras, and also hosts organ proms once a month. Beyond the classical music world it is also used for one-off events such as the Yamato Drummers of Japan, pop and comedy shows, and regularly for local school concerts and youth orchestras.

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