Wolverhampton Civic Halls’ (Wolves Civic) restoration has reached a major milestone with the first new steel beams being installed to improve the 82-year-old venue’s infrastructure – and create new spectator balconies.
Contractors, Willmott Dixon Interiors, have set up a mobile crane inside the historic Grade II-listed halls to manoeuvre the heavy steels into place, while working in line with the Government’s Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.
Above: Willmott Dixon Interiors Director, Phil Crowther, Cllr Stephen Simkins and Council Leader, Cllr Ian Brookfield, signing one of the new steels at the Civic Halls
As the transformation of the Wolves Civic ramps up, we are celebrating the fascinating history and emotional power of this iconic building with the official launch of www.YourWolvesCivic.co.uk.
The website celebrates all the joy the halls have brought to Wolverhampton over the years – recognising the famous names alongside the personal memories.
It also gives people the opportunity to share their stories of great nights out at the Civic via the ‘Your Stories’ section on the website.
The improvements to the building are critical to ensuring the halls remain a top-class entertainment venue for audiences for generations to come, generating millions of pounds a year and creating hundreds of jobs in the local economy.
Following the Covid-19 interruption, the revised timetable for the project now means the refurbished Wolves Civic is expected to reopen to the public in early 2022.
City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “After being hit hard by Covid-19, regeneration projects like the Civic Halls are even more important to our city’s economic recovery.
“I am delighted to see the progress being made on the Civic Halls works since Willmott Dixon Interiors returned to site in July following an enforced break due to coronavirus.
“We are creating a truly outstanding venue, in the heart of the city centre, which will bring in millions of pounds to our local economy and safeguard hundreds of jobs.”
City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Stephen Simkins, added: “The programme has reached an exciting milestone with the installation of the new steels.
“The new steels sitting alongside the original ones gives us a sense of the sensitive transformation taking place of this iconic venue.
“And the Your Wolves Civic website enables us to celebrate the Civic’s great history while relishing the prospect of it reopening as a venue fit to host the biggest names in the entertainment business for decades to come.”
Phil Crowther, Director at Willmott Dixon Interiors, said: “It’s fantastic to see construction work stepping up a gear. This is a significant milestone in the restoration of the Civic Halls and is the result of months of hard work on behalf of our people and supply chain partners.
“Delivering a project of this magnitude is always challenging and we have had to adapt to new ways of working to keep everyone safe.
“We know how incredibly important this venue is to Wolverhampton and we can’t wait to hand it back to the city when work is complete.”
Essential structural, engineering and electrical works are part of the works programme and visitors are set to benefit from the introduction of a second balcony for the Civic Hall and a balcony in the Wulfrun Hall to provide additional seating.
The height above the stage to the rear of the Civic Hall will be increased to attract bigger and better shows.
Overall, there will be wider and more comfortable seats, bigger and better bars and more space to socialise, expanded and revamped toilet facilities to give visitors an improved experience, lift access to new balconies, better access arrangements for disabled visitors (including enhanced wheelchair access), a greater number of accessible viewing points, and improved room temperatures through the installation of a new air conditioning system.