George Stephenson Memorial Hall mid shot from street. Red brick gothic style building.

Big Plans for Memorial Hall

Posted on: Thursday 13 January 2022

Plans to create a modern and extended customer experience at the Stephenson Memorial Hall - which houses Chesterfield's Pomegranate Theatre and Museum - are at the heart of the council's successful bid for almost £20m of Government funding to further boost Chesterfield town centre and enhance the town's cultural offer. 

The council's Levelling Up Fund award allocates £11m towards the costs of a £15.6m project to remodel and refurbish Chesterfield’s 'striking' Stephenson Memorial Hall. 

The Stephenson Memorial Hall was built in 1879. It was built to commemorate the engineer George Stephenson who was regarded as the "Father of Railways". Three separate mechanics' groups came together with an idea to form an institute in the town to improve the general education of working people. The building was used for lectures, classes and a library. A room was also used as a museum. It would have held a collection of geological samples and engineering models. The building was extended when the building was sold to Chesterfield Corporation in 1889 to include a theatre, which opened in 1889 (now the Pomegranate Theatre). 

Under the plans, the refurbished Hall would bring together under one roof an extended Pomegranate Theatre, a reconfigured and modern museum offering, alongside new gallery space, a cafe bar, education and community facilities. 

The remaining £8.5m would be immediately allocated to further regenerate Chesterfield's historic town centre, with investment centred on four key public spaces - Corporation Street, Rykneld Square, Market Square and New Square - and how these are connected to one another. 

These spaces would be reimagined for a range of flexible uses including markets, festivals, events, cultural celebrations and community gatherings in a programme that will aim to complement the offering at Stephenson Memorial Hall. 

Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: "This is fantastic news for Chesterfield. The funding that we have secured from the Government's Levelling Up Fund will complement the significant investments the council and its partners are already making in Chesterfield town centre and will ensure that we can continue to create a better future for our market traders, retailers, residents and businesses. 

"We want Chesterfield to be a go-to place for visitors. The projects that will be enabled through the Levelling Up funding will go a long wat to helping us achieve this ambition by enhancing our cultural offer and creating new experiences in and around the town's most iconic building - the Crooked Spire (Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints) - and our historic market grounds. 

"We are an ambitious council, committed to making Chesterfield a thriving borough and improving the quality of life of local people. We have achieved part one, which is to secure Government funding. The next part is to deliver these Levelling Up projects at pace with the desired impact for the future prosperity of our town and borough".

Pomegranate Theatre stage.

 Pomegranate Theatre circle
Medieval Builders Wheel Chesterfield Museum archive room

Top left: The Pomegranate Theatre stage, taken from the circle. 
Top right: A view of the Pomegranate Theatre auditorium
Bottom left: The medieval builders' wheel on display at the Museum. The wheel was used over 600 years ago in the building of the Crooked Spire. 
Bottom right: A behind the scenes photo of the Museum store. 

 

Big Plans for Memorial Hall

Plans to create a modern and extended customer experience at the Stephenson Memorial Hall - which houses Chesterfield's Pomegranate Theatre and Museum - are at the heart of the council's successful bid for almost £20m of Government funding to further boost Chesterfield town centre and enhance the town's cultural offer. 

The council's Levelling Up Fund award allocates £11m towards the costs of a £15.6m project to remodel and refurbish Chesterfield’s 'striking' Stephenson Memorial Hall. 

The Stephenson Memorial Hall was built in 1879. It was built to commemorate the engineer George Stephenson who was regarded as the "Father of Railways". Three separate mechanics' groups came together with an idea to form an institute in the town to improve the general education of working people. The building was used for lectures, classes and a library. A room was also used as a museum. It would have held a collection of geological samples and engineering models. The building was extended when the building was sold to Chesterfield Corporation in 1889 to include a theatre, which opened in 1889 (now the Pomegranate Theatre). 

Under the plans, the refurbished Hall would bring together under one roof an extended Pomegranate Theatre, a reconfigured and modern museum offering, alongside new gallery space, a cafe bar, education and community facilities. 

The remaining £8.5m would be immediately allocated to further regenerate Chesterfield's historic town centre, with investment centred on four key public spaces - Corporation Street, Rykneld Square, Market Square and New Square - and how these are connected to one another. 

These spaces would be reimagined for a range of flexible uses including markets, festivals, events, cultural celebrations and community gatherings in a programme that will aim to complement the offering at Stephenson Memorial Hall. 

Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: "This is fantastic news for Chesterfield. The funding that we have secured from the Government's Levelling Up Fund will complement the significant investments the council and its partners are already making in Chesterfield town centre and will ensure that we can continue to create a better future for our market traders, retailers, residents and businesses. 

"We want Chesterfield to be a go-to place for visitors. The projects that will be enabled through the Levelling Up funding will go a long wat to helping us achieve this ambition by enhancing our cultural offer and creating new experiences in and around the town's most iconic building - the Crooked Spire (Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints) - and our historic market grounds. 

"We are an ambitious council, committed to making Chesterfield a thriving borough and improving the quality of life of local people. We have achieved part one, which is to secure Government funding. The next part is to deliver these Levelling Up projects at pace with the desired impact for the future prosperity of our town and borough".

Pomegranate Theatre stage.

 Pomegranate Theatre circle
Medieval Builders Wheel Chesterfield Museum archive room

Top left: The Pomegranate Theatre stage, taken from the circle. 
Top right: A view of the Pomegranate Theatre auditorium
Bottom left: The medieval builders' wheel on display at the Museum. The wheel was used over 600 years ago in the building of the Crooked Spire. 
Bottom right: A behind the scenes photo of the Museum store. 

 

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