Contractor: BAM Construction

Project Value: £164,000

Architect: George Smith

Stone: Limestone and Cobble Reinstatement

Completed: 2011


City Varieties is a Grade II listed music hall in the city centre of Leeds. It was built in 1865 as an ‘add on’ to the White Swan Inn (dating from 1748) in Swan Street and the original interior is largely unaltered. Along with Hoxton Hall and Wilton’s Music Hall (both in London), it is a rare surviving example of the Victorian era music halls of the 1850s/1860s. The interior is a long rectangle, with boxes separated by cast-iron columns along the sides at circle level.

Between 1953 and 1983, the theatre achieved national fame as the venue for the BBC television programme “The Good Old Days”. The venue still presents live “The Good Old Days” running over 3 weekends in the spring and 4 in the autumn, as well as pantomimes and a regular programme of stand-up comedians and music concerts.

In 2009, City Varieties began to show its age and therefore Leeds City Council decided to fully refurbish this magnificent building to its former glory. BAM Construction was awarded the main contractor for the job and they enlisted the services of PMJ Masonry to be associated with the internal refurbishment and the removal and reinstatement of the cobbled Victorian street outside.

The building was fully stripped internally of all its panelling, while the seating and the stage was set aside and refurbished. The building infrastructure was strengthened, replastered and decorated. A new entrance and ticket hall was created and a new lift installed. After all this, the panelling, seating and stage were reinstated as if it was never removed. A class act!!!