Building materials and specifications
In 1959, the Council appointed
architects, Robert Atkinson and Partners
to design the new Fairfield Halls.
It was to be a major arts
and cultural civic complex.
The project had close ties
to the Royal Festival Hall at Southbank.
Like the Royal Festival Hall,
the concert hall of the Fairfield Halls
was ‘cradled’ in the centre of the building.
Irishman, Hope Bagenal
was the acoustic consultant
on both projects.
Meanwhile, the consultant organist,
Ralph Downes, was also organist
at the Royal Festival Hall.
There were also similarities in the design
such as the tiling, marbling and lettering
throughout the building.
Costing £1.25 million to build,
the Fairfield Halls was made up
of a Concert Hall, flanked by
the smaller Ashcroft Theatre
and Arnhem Gallery.
A foyer with carpet and chandeliers
served all three halls.
The building was made of a steel frame
with white Portland stone
and grey and black granite.
A large model of the building
made of ice-cream gateau
was presented on the opening day.
“the perfect symphony hall”
by conductor, Leopold Stokowski,
the concert hall seated
up to 1,794 people
and could be adapted for use
for stage performances,
lectures, gymnastics, wrestling,
boxing and circus shows.
The Ashcroft Theatre
seated 740 people.
The Arnhem Gallery
was used for exhibitions
The new Fairfield Halls complex
also included car-park spaces
for 1,400 vehicles.