BLA were appointed to lead a consultant team to develop options for the refurbishment and re-imagining of Stephenson Memorial Hall, Chesterfield. Our team has worked closely with the client, staff, and stakeholders from the outset of the project to shape an exciting plan for the future of this important cultural building
Stephenson Memorial Hall is a Grade II Listed building in the heart of Chesterfield town centre. It was built to commemorate George Stephenson, the town’s ‘adopted son’, and envisaged as a place to improve the general education of working people in the town, housing a lecture hall, library and class rooms. It currently houses both the 1898 Pomegranate Theatre, the first repertory theatre to be owned and run by a local council, and the Museum & Art Gallery which opened in 1994.
Working together with the client team, our team developed proposals to refresh and re-imagine the Hall to be a 21st century civic facility, transforming its offer and safeguarding its future as a key part of Chesterfield’s cultural heritage. The proposals envisage the building as an integrated cultural centre, housing the existing theatre and museum alongside a better located bar, café and gift shop in the key heritage spaces of the building. The historic entrance and ground floor areas are brought back into use as arrival spaces, bar and café to serve the whole building. New connections will be made throughout the building, enabling visitors to appreciate the heritage asset and the range of cultural experiences on offer. Two new extensions to the building help to form the new connections between the theatre and the museum, greatly enhancing accessibility while upgrading back of house facilities, providing modern heating and ventilation systems, and externally signposting the renewal of the building within the town.
- Undertook a full options appraisal, considering different scales of intervention, costs, and future revenue projections.
- Developed the preferred option to Planning and Listed Building Consent submissions.
- Supported the client in making a successful submission for £20m government Levelling Up Funding.
- Understanding of the existing heritage asset to inform proposals, working closely with Conservation Officers, developing a heritage statement, and impact assessment.
- Carefully designed interventions to improve visitor flows, accessibility and connections throughout the building.
- Simplifying multiple entrance points into one single entrance rationalises circulation and offers the same experience to all visitors of the building.
- Proposed upgrades to the building, including relocated bar/café, improve long term financial viability and resilience of the building.
- Contextual and contemporary additions to the historic building celebrates the renewal of the building and town centre.
- Environmental sustainability and energy use is addressed through a combination of new building services including heat recovery, insulation, secondary glazing, and photovoltaic panels.
Visuals 1-3: BLOC Visual, 2022