Victoria Hall (then)

The Village

Saltaire is named after philanthropist Sir Titus Salt and the River Aire, which flows at the bottom of the village, near Roberts Park. In the 1850’s, Sir Titus built the village to house the workers of his mill (now Salts Mill). This was a revolutionary development at a time when all the major surrounding cities of Bradford, Leeds and Manchester were slums. His model village led the way for major regeneration, not only within these cities, but the world over.

Architecture

Inspired by opulent 15th century architecture, and commissioned by Sir Titus Salt as a ‘centre for recreation, culture and learning’ for his villagers, Victoria Hall was designed by architects Lockwood and Mawson and opened in 1871. It was then known as The Saltaire Institute. The Lions outside Victoria Hall (and the Salt Building opposite, part of Shipley College) have stories to tell too. They were designed by sculptor Thomas Milnes of London, and were – apparently – originally destined for the bottom of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square in London. Local legend has it that the lions clamber down to the River Aire after dark each night to drink, before returning the next morning. We’ve tried to catch them, but they’re pretty sneaky for such big lions.

Billiards, Bagatelle and Fencing, oh my!

When it opened, Victoria Hall housed a library, gymnasium and rifle drill-room, fencing room, armoury, chess room, laboratory and lecture theatre, bagatelle and billiards room, a school of art, and a large dance hall with a fully sprung floor. It was perfectly suited to a huge variety of events, and we still are today, hosting weddings, meetings, exhibitions, festivals, concerts and lavish balls.

Famous Faces

Sir Titus Salt hosted an impressive array of speakers such as historian John Ruskin, Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and the great explorer David Livingstone. Charles Dickens was booked to speak shortly before his unexpected death in 1870. To this day the venue still attracts visitors from across the globe. It has also been used as a filming location, including for celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s Great British Food series.

Ongoing legacy

Victoria Hall is owned by a charitable trust, the Salt Foundation, and managed on its behalf by Shipley College. All proceeds from the hire of the venue and donations to The Salt Foundation for Victoria Hall go directly back into managing and maintaining the building.

Now your turn…

We’re currently developing our recorded history of Victoria Hall. Do you have a story to share, or interest in volunteering to help us with our archive? Please email us at hello@victoriahallsaltaire.co.uk – we’d love to hear from you!

Victoria Hall (now)

We’re a small but perfectly formed team, passionate about delivering great customer service and looking after this beautiful venue to pass on to the next generation to do the same thing.

This is what we believe in:

  • Looking after this gorgeous old lady of a venue for future generations. She’s seen so many stories over the years, we’re delighted to play our bit to help add new stories to that history, and ensure her long life & long term success.
  • We believe in really looking after you. Seriously. The buzz we get when we see your event going well, introduce a visitor to the history of the venue, or see the joy in a couples eyes when they’ve just got married here surrounded by friends and family, you just can’t beat it.
  • We believe in our community: our fabulous, creative and varied Saltaire, but also the whole of Yorkshire. We’re immensely proud of our corner of the world, our clients and fantastic recommended suppliers!

Who we are

Hannah

Hannah

Venue Manager

Hannah deals with all the strategic and decision making ‘stuff’ to look after the team, develop ideas to look after our customers and keep the venue moving forward. She also love’s cake & cats!

Marie

Marie

Event & Marketing Assistant

Marie is the lynchpin that keeps our office running smoothly, and the main point of contact for our regular bookings.

Simon

Simon

Event Coordinator

Simon is our Event Coordinator & the main point of contact for all wedding bookings. A unique chap who’s hair colour changes with the seasons!

Charlotte

Charlotte

Wedding Coordinator

Charlotte is our wedding coordinator. If you’ve said ‘yes’ to one of our wedding packages, she’ll be the one to help and guide you through the planning process, and be with you on the day. Charlotte also manages our Venue Bar.

Tony

Tony

Front of House Duty Officer

Tony is one of our Front of House team, helping to set up and be on hand throughout events.

Rachel

Rachel

Apprentice

Rachel is our apprentice and most likely the first smiley face you will meet when you pay us a visit!

Sajjad

Sajjad

Front of House Assistant

Sajjad is one of our Front of House team, helping to set up and be on hand throughout events.

Daniela

Daniela

Front of House Duty Officer

Daniela is one of our Front of House team, helping to set up and be on hand throughout events.

Gemma

Gemma

Front of House Assistant

Gemma is one of our Front of House team, helping to set up and be on hand throughout events.

Mark

Mark

Front of House Duty Officer

Mark is one of our Front of House team, helping to set up and be on hand throughout events. Also our in-house A/V whizz

The Mighty Wurlitzer

We’re proud to be home to Yorkshire’s finest Wurlitzer Cinema Organ, managed by the Cinema Organ Society. The Wurlitzer is beneath the Main Hall stage, with an array of beautiful pipework permanently sited under the stage, and the console rising on a hydraulic lift for performances and concerts. It’s also been used to welcome Brides & Grooms and Company Directors into events in spectacular fashion (arrival by Wurlitzer).

The Cinema Organ Society’s Northern Wurlitzer was built in 1937 and installed that year in the Gaumont Cinema, Oldham. Since leaving there in 1961 it’s had three other homes before arriving at Victoria Hall and having it’s first concert here in 2009.

The Cinema Organ Society promote regular theatre organ concerts and dances by top British and international artists, as well as by younger up-and-coming players. In addition to regular monthly events, the Wurlitzer is played several times a month by members of the society.

When rehearsing, the Cinema Organ Society place a sign outside the venue to welcome visitors. Why not pop in to see the Wurlitzer in action? You might even catch the console rising up to the stage. Small groups can be given a tour down to the heart of the organ, to view all the pipes, drums, cymbals and the mechanisms that make up the instrument.

You can find further information on the Cinema Organ Society North and their events on their website or contact them via email on richard.stephenson (at) cinema-organs.org.uk to find out when their members days are.