Settle Victoria Hall was opened on 11 October 1853, and has been open and at the heart of Settle’s social and cultural life ever since. At 165 years old, it predates the Settle-Carlisle railway by thirteen years, Wiltons' Music Hall in London by five years, and is the oldest surviving Music Hall in the world.
1853. 'The Music Hall, Settle' is built by Revd. J. Robinson esq., a local philanthropist, and designed by Edward G. Paley, who also designed Lancaster Cathedral, among other buildings. When it first opened, gas lighting would not come to Settle for another seven years, Queen Victoria was sixteen years into her reign, and anyone in Settle or the surrounding areas who wanted to visit the theatre would have had to travel to Leeds and stay overnight.
1879. Settle Operatic Society is formed. The society continues to put on its annual show at Victoria Hall to this day.
1883. The actdrop is painted by Edmund Handby. Handby's actdrop, showing a scene of Settle market-place from a much earlier painting, is still in use in the hall today.
1893. 'The Music Hall' changes its name to 'Settle Victoria Hall'
1909. The stage is enclosed, and the proscenium arch painted.
1919. The Kirkgate Kinema opens in Victoria Hall.
1921. The Robinson Family gifts Victoria Hall to the local council.
1929. The current balcony is built, and a wooden dance floor replaces the old, raked floor.
1944. The cinema closes in Victoria Hall, and moves to new premises.
1999. Settle Victoria Hall Ltd. is set up as a registered charity.
2000-2001. Victoria Hall is refurbished, and the proscenium arch rediscovered behind plasterwork.
2017. Cinema returns to Settle, with financing for new high-end audio-visual equipment.
Victoria Hall is made special by the place it occupies at the heart of Settle, and in the affections of all the people who use it. If you have special memories of Victoria Hall, whether concerts you’ve visited, shows you’ve performed in, or any other occasion, recent or long ago, we’d love to hear from you. Use the form below to get in touch.