In 2008 the redevelopment of Shrewsbury's New Music Hall began to incorporate the Shrewsbury Museums collection, art gallery, information centre, café and public toilets.
History of the site
The Old Music Hall is situated in the town centre of Shrewsbury. The complex is one of the most important sites in Shrewsbury, strategically positioned in the historic Market Square at the heart of the earliest part of the town.
It is a unique collection of buildings, including the Grade II* listed 13th Century Vaughan's Mansion, one of only a handful of early medieval defensive hall houses remaining in the UK. Occupying the main part of the site is the 19th Century Music Hall and Assembly Rooms, designed by Edward Haycock in 1835 and listed as Grade II. The complex also includes a medieval shut (a passageway between buildings typical of Shrewsbury), 18th Century prison cells and a 20th Century civil defence/nuclear bunker.
In essence the Music Hall site is a microcosm of the town as a whole that reflects a broad range of local traditions. By sensitive restoration and the removal of ugly additions such as a 1960s boiler room, it is planned to reveal the history of alterations and uses reflecting the social, cultural and economic development of Shrewsbury over some seven centuries.
The Music Hall project will redevelop the 2970 sq.m site into an integrated visitor centre to serve Shropshire, therefore ensuring a viable future for a highly significant complex of historic buildings in the heart of the county town.
The buildings will house the historic museum collections, reconfigured and re-presented, together with visitor services and information and a programme of contemporary visual arts, community-led events and educational activity. This will enable a much wider range, and much greater number, of people to engage with, experience and enjoy leisure, learning and the rich cultural product of Shrewsbury and Shropshire.
Shropshire Museums is grateful for the financial support received to date from the following organisations:
The Heritage Lottery Fund
Arts Council England
European Regional Development Fund
The Art Fund
The Walker Trust
The restoration of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery has had to deal with some huge challenges, because of the complex nature of the building and its history, stretching back to medieval times. To show you the work that has been going on behind the scenes, we have produced a video to give you a glimpse of the restoration work that has been done. To view the video, just click on the 'Behind the Scenes' link at the bottom of this page.
To follow the project and activity at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery please visit our Facebook page below.
The attachments on this page contain historic images of the Old Music Hall, go behind the scenes of the work to reveal the building's hidden history, and offer artist's impressions of the new museum and art gallery for Shropshire, due to open in the second half of 2013.