AN original chandelier from one of North Yorkshire’s most historic theatres is back in place after being discovered in pieces in an underground storage area.
The ornate brass light fixture originally hung in Harrogate’s Royal Hall theatre when it opened in 1904 and, at the time, was one of the first chandeliers powered by electricity in the UK.
Now the historic Edwardian fitting has been fully restored and reinstated after a member of staff from Harrogate Convention Centre discovered it, in pieces, in a storage area below the theatre.
Wayne Trott, building services manager, said: “We were clearing out an old storage room in a basement next to the car park and I discovered a box full of sorry looking brass fixtures and lamp fittings. I recognised it as an antique chandelier, and although it was in bits I realised there was enough pieces to easily rebuild it and have plenty of spare parts left over.”
The antique was handed to Liverpool-based restoration company Charnock Design, which painstakingly stripped and restored the metalwork and recreated one of the missing art nouveau glass panels. Now, more than a century after it was first hung, the chandelier is back in the theatre.
Andy Lane, venue services manager at the Royal Hall, said: “This is a great Christmas present for the theatre. I understand the last time the chandelier was seen was over a decade ago when the Royal Hall underwent its £8million restoration.
“This is nice little piece of Harrogate’s history back home where it belongs.”
The Royal Hall was designed in 1903 Frank Matcham as a multi-purpose entertainment venue for well-to-do visitors to Harrogate’s spa. The style of theatre, popular on the continent, is known as a kursaal and features removable seats to create a dance floor area in front of the stage. The building was reopened in 2008 by HRH Prince Charles, following a huge public fundraising campaign by the Royal Hall Restoration Trust.