|Swansea's Albert Hall Reborn | sitemap | log in|
As we know, buildings that are left with out any maintenance over time become subject to the elements. Although when the place was closed in 2007 it was in a very well kept condition by its then owners, Mecca Bingo Ltd, what state it is in now one can only imagine after nearly 5 years closure.
The exterior of the building is now looking very much worse for wear with trees growing out of the masonry, paint flaking away exposing bare Victorian brick walls. Parts of the outside of the building have become unsafe along the De La Beech Street elevation and the council from time to time have had to place barriers along the pavement to prevent injury to pedestrians. Its not clear, but it seems the council must have undertaken exterior work because these barriers only appear for some time and then disappear until the next scare.
The Albert Hall is listed and and has been since 1987, it appears on the Heritage Trust list as Grade II. It is on the ‘Statutory List Of Buildings Of Special Architectural Or Historic Interest’. Around 450,000 buildings are on this list.
It all sounds wonderfully protective but Grade II is not the highest grading a building can get but here its a start. In many cases, but not all, once renovation work gets started on a building it can get an automatic upgrade as it becomes apparent that the building is indeed of great importance. We can only hope and pray this will happen with Swansea’s Albert Hall. Sadly, this does not always happen to buildings with any kind of grade listing. Many listed buildings are left to slowly rot away quietly out of the sight of the public. They then get to a certain state of disrepair and get unlisted - they are then soon demolished, gone forever.
As a local example, the Swansea Palace Theatre Of Varieties, another great building close to hearts of Swansea people, is rapidly going this way and is now almost, sadly, beyond saving. This once grand palace of entertainment has seen many an attempt at keeping it open after its life as a theatre ended in the 1950’s. Its been a bingo hall, a cinema, a bingo hall, a disco, a bingo hall again. Sir Anthony Hopkins even looked at it with the idea of opening a resident theatre company there as did the Swansea Little Theatre group but nothing came of either idea. Now it sits at a sad end of High Street suffering from severe fire and weather damage, it’s one time glory almost beyond recognition. The Albert Hall is in a much better condition than that of The Palace and it is there within easy reach for it to be brought back to us as a serious money making concert venue. Most buildings that are currently seeking help to reopen as live venues seem to be from the 1920’s/1930’s, the deco era of super cinema’s, popular from America at the time, these are, at most only 70 years old, lets remember the Albert Hall is nearly 170 years old!