24 years since Free Trade Hall closed

30th June 2020

On 30th June 1996 Manchester’s Free Trade Hall and the home of the Hallé Orchestra for over 138 years, closed for the last time. Fittingly the final concert was performed by the Hallé with a packed audience made up of concert regulars, local civic dignitaries and members of the Royal family. The concert included works by Weber, Sibelius, Berlioz, Handel, Elgar, Beethoven, Shostakovich and Wagner and was Conducted by the then Halle Music Director, Kent Nagano.

The Free Trade Hall was more than a concert hall – in fact, it soon became relatively ineffectual as a concert hall – which was why Manchester demanded a world-class venue and the Bridgewater Hall was built just around the corner, which remains in the top 10 best concert halls in the world 24 years on.

The Free Trade Hall was built in 1856 on the site of the Peterloo Massacre in 1856 as a symbol of the vital role Manchester played in the repeal of the corn laws. It remains an important and beautiful landmark and was lovingly and considerately restored by Edwardian Hotels London in 2004. Many of the original features were retained including the wonderful Grecian mouldings and the local authority crests – proudly displayed in the hotel lobby.

We are delighted that The Edwardian Manchester – a long term sponsor and supporter of the Hallé – is working towards reopening in the early autumn bringing back first-class rooms and wonderful dining experiences, including the award-winning contemporary Japanese and Mexican restaurant, Peter Street Kitchen, alongside their stunning afternoon tea enjoyed in The Library curated by Assouline.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the hotel Edwardian Hotels London commissioned a special video featuring the Hallé as you’ve never heard them before with a medley of songs from the Bee Gees to the Sex Pistols with a bit of Rachmaninov in between!