Build­ing at heart of the city since 1822

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS -

Since 1822, the Aberdeen Mu­sic Hall has been the heart of concert and com­mu­nity life in the north-east.

Orig­i­nally the city’s Assem­bly Rooms, it cost £11,500 to build fol­low­ing a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion that in­vited ar­chi­tects to sub­mit ideas for what would be­come a ma­jor land­mark.

The even­tual win­ner was Aberdeen’s most fa­mous ar­chi­tect, Archibald Simp­son, but he en­tered un­der an as­sumed name de­spite al­ready be­ing a prom­i­nent fig­ure.

It was orig­i­nally built with two main per­for­mance spa­ces – a main au­di­to­rium and a large ball­room – and en­joyed im­me­di­ate suc­cess as the build­ing opened to packed-out per­for­mances, in­clud­ing read­ings from Charles Dick­ens.

In 1858, the rooms were sold by the trustees to the newly formed Aberdeen Mu­sic Hall Com­pany, which swiftly an­nounced plans to ex­tend the build­ing to ac­com­mo­date a grand mu­sic hall.

The com­pany plunged into liq­ui­da­tion in 1928, prompt­ing Aberdeen City Coun­cil to buy it for the peo­ple.

The mu­sic hall was ex­ten­sively re­stored and re­fur­bished by the City of Aberdeen Dis­trict Coun­cil in the mid 1980s.

Al­most all of the Free­dom of the City cer­e­monies have taken place at the Mu­sic Hall, with the Queen, Nel­son Man­dela, Mikhail Gor­bachev, Win­ston Churchill and Alex Fer­gu­son all re­ceiv­ing the hon­our there.

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