A second orchestra starts restoring a church

A second orchestra starts restoring a church


norman lebrecht

October 19, 2011

First it was the London Symphony Orchestra restoring the City gem of St Luke’s as a rehearsal and education centre, a place of infinite possibilities for interaction and outreach with diverse communities (as well as black-tie dinners).

Now the Halle in Manchester has received grants to renew St Peter’s Church, Ancoats, along similiar lines.

It’s continuing God’s work in secular times, I guess.

Here’s the press release:





Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra is delighted to announce an award of £702,000 from Viridor Credits Environmental Company, to support the redevelopment of St. Peter’s Church in Ancoats. The award was announced publicly at a special event today (Friday 14 October) in Taunton to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Viridor Credits.


News of the award came just days before the Hallé received confirmation of a grant of £150,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation.


This means that work can begin on the transformation of St. Peter’s into a new rehearsal base for the Hallé, and a home for the Orchestra’s education and community programmes. The new facility, which will preserve the exterior of the building itself, will also act as a base for the Hallé Choir, Hallé Youth Orchestra, Youth Choir and Children’s Choir. The Hallé are being advised on the project by Manchester law firm George Davies.


The Hallé Choir was founded by Sir Charles Hallé (alongside the Orchestra) in 1858. St. Peter’s will offer, for the first time in the Choir’s history, the chance to have a permanent rehearsal venue. The three youth ensembles rank amongst the Hallé’s proudest achievements of recent years. They offer talented young people from Manchester and the North West the chance to develop their skills by working alongside professional musicians, conductors and choral directors.


John Summers, Chief Executive of the Hallé, said: “This is brilliant news, both for the Hallé and the sleeping beauty that is Ancoats.  We are delighted to be able to focus our education and community work in an area which played such a central role in Manchester’s emergence as a city of world significance. We are hugely grateful to both Viridor Credits and the Garfield Weston Foundation for giving us such an excellent start to our fundraising campaign.”


Lisa Nelson, general manager of Viridor Credits, said: “We were inundated with entries for our tenth Anniversary Commemorative Awards but the Hallé really stood out to us. Not only will it help to restore the impressive St. Peter’s Church for everyone to enjoy, but it will also help to provide valuable space for the prestigious Hallé Orchestra, helping to regenerate this area of Manchester.”


The former St. Peter’s Church is located in Ancoats, a part of Manchester that is widely regarded as the world’s first industrial suburb and an historic feature of the city’s heritage. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) recently inherited the Ancoats Estate from the North West Regional Development Agency.



  • Not forgetting the RPO’s conversion of the New Christian Science Church into Cadogan Hall.

  • This is a very interesting bit of information, thanks for sharing it.

  • Tony says:

    Cadogan Hall cost sixteen millions to convert – hardly trivial. LSO St. Luke’s considerably more. I hope the Halle and their sponsors know what they might be getting into.

    • AVI says:

      I think a basic concert hall cost is around £75m (often cited lower at the start of projects for political reasons). In this context, £16m to convert Cadogan Hall is not a particularly significant sum.

      In context of the new hall in Hamburg (which is an outlier, granted), £16m is indeed trivial – that hall seems to be at past €500m and counting…!

  • Tommy says:

    And what about the RLPO’s Liverpool Philharmonic at the Friary – a converted church (St Mary’s) in Everton?