We’re often asked about the wonderful venue we call our home and what the history behind it was. So, we thought we’d step back in time, do some digging and take you back to where it all began…
The earliest we could find
Back before the Albert Hall was even built the space was home to the New Jerusalem Church from around 1793 right up until the end of the 1800’s. It held a church building as well as a Sunday school just behind on Bootle Street. We’re not sure at what point the New Jerusalem Church was demolished but it was sometime before 1910.
The Hall we know and love
The Albert Hall that we all recognise, love and know was designed in 1910 by WJ Morely of Bradford and commissioned by the Methodist Church to serve as the Manchester and Salford Wesleyan Mission. ‘The design was intended to look different from a conventional church to attract non-churchgoers’ states Dr Angela Connelly of the Manchester Architecture Research Centre.
The building is spread across 4 floors, the basement was previously home to an area for social use. There were boys and girls club rooms, reading room, kitchens and Sister’s offices. The upstairs floor we all recognise was and remains to have a capacity of 2000 with the original organ still in mint condition to this day!
A Hall of many uses
The Hall was host to not only church ceremonies but also several ‘People’s Concerts’ during its time as a Methodist chapel. This invited the public down to embrace the Manchester music scene… not unlike what you find us all doing today! We also commemorated this event in 2017, by recreating the event 21st-century style.
Albert Hall also had its fair share of political speakers taking to the stage. Like the iconic Mr Winston Churchill addressing the Manchester masses in 1950, check out the incredible shot!
A use we never knew
We even discovered some surprising information about the building that we never knew before. Where Albert’s Schloss now stands, the ground floor was home to a car showroom, the earliest picture we could find was in 1956, however, we can’t be sure if this was its purpose from an earlier date.
It remained a car show room until at least 1973 (the last picture we could find of it) but again we can’t be sure it wasn’t around until the 80’s!
Hey momma, welcome to the 90’s
In the 1990’s the ground floor of Albert Hall was bought by Cougar Leisure Ltd and became the infamous Brannigans – which was known for many things, all of which were the opposite of what the Methodist Church commissioned the building to operate as!
With the nightclub bustling downstairs – the beautiful ornate upstairs of the Albert Hall remained unused from 1969 right up until 2011, a whole 60 years!
A new lease of life
In 2011, to much dismay, Brannigans closed its doors. The whole building, all four wonderful floors, was bought by the Trof group in 2012 and renovations began on restoring the Albert Hall back to its former glory.
Skipping through to 2013 the Albert Hall reopened it’s doors to the public as the multipurpose venue we all know and love today! Playing host to festivals, gigs, club nights and private hire events such as weddings and conferences.
It’s fair to say we’ve come a heck of a long way since we were first established over 100 years ago, from Methodist church, to car showroom, to the event space we have today. We’re so proud of our history and heritage and have found out so much we didn’t know previously – we just needed to share it with you all!
If you have any more information or pictures of the Albert Hall back in time please send them over to firstname.lastname@example.org we love looking back into our archives and knowing exactly where we came from.
Manchester City Council