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Web bid to save Swansea landmark from ruin

By This is SouthWales  |  Posted: December 01, 2011

Old Albert Hall

The Albert Hall in Swansea

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CAMPAIGNERS are stepping up their bid to save one of Swansea’s oldest buildings.

The Albert Hall has stood on Craddock Street in the centre of town since 1864, during which time it has been used as a music hall and cinema.

But its future has remained clouded in doubt, ever since its last occupants, the Mecca Bingo Club, left more than four years ago.

It has remained empty since then, and its owners, believed to be Hertfordshire- based property company Caverwood Ltd, have not said what their plans are for the listed building.

Calls were made earlier this year for its preservation, and now campaigners have gone online with a website calling for help to secure its future.

Businesses in the area are also being asked for their support and opinions, and a flyer campaign is being planned.

Campaigner Ian Howells, originally from Penclawdd but based in Madrid due to work with airline British Airways, used to visit the building as a young man, on Saturday afternoons.

He said: “The Albert Hall has always fascinated me.

“It is an incredible old building, it was an old Victorian music hall.

“We want to build up as much momentum and support as possible for the campaign.

“A lot of big names want to play Swansea but there is not a venue big enough.

“The Grand is just over 900 seats whereas the Albert Hall, with modern safety standards complied with, would hold around 3,000 or more. Names such as Peter Kay and Jools Holland cry out to play in moderate-sized venues especially with the acoustics the Albert Hall has.

“In the new year I am arranging a number of fund-raising concerts to get some funds together.

“Support is there.”

Mr Howells said he recently canvassed neighbouring businesses, whom he claims wanted something to be done with the building.

Campaigner Paulette Pelosi, said: “I am glad that the launch of the website has highlighted the campaign again.

“Something needs to be done.

“It’s winter again, the rendering is falling off — at least Mecca honoured its listed status.

“And although you can’t pull down a listed building, it can still fall down.

“It is in a great place and has great potential, but we need to get all the parties together to talk.”

Among those supporting the campaign to preserve the building, is Swansea Sound DJ Kevin Johns.

He said: “I went past the building the other day and to see it all boarded up was very sad.

“I went to school in Dynevor around the corner, and remember going there to see films like Jaws and the Towering Inferno. There might have been a few courting visits there also.

“It is such a lovely building. So much of Swansea was destroyed by the Blitz, that we don’t have many old buildings, so we should be making the most of those that we do have.

“It is a bit of our history.”

The building is situated close to another crumbling city landmark, the historic Palace Theatre on High Street, which is now fenced off with disintegrating brickwork, despite another campaign to preserve it.

To visit the Albert Hall campaign website visit www.spanglefish.com/SwanseasAlbertHallReborn nino.williams@swwmedia.co.uk

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  • Jakkar  |  December 01 2011, 11:17PM

    Gah. Brain collapses. How can I love a building that much and mis-name it at the time of commenting? Palace, damnit. Palace! =P

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  • the_busdriver  |  December 01 2011, 11:11PM

    Nostalgia is one thing but this building would took hundreds of thousands of pounds to put right it is practically falling down. I would hate to see what the state of the inside is like. I can't see anything happening to this building in the near future with the economic climate it is going to decline even further sad but a fact of life.

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  • Jakkar  |  December 01 2011, 10:15PM

    This is nothing compared to the tragedy of letting the Princess crumble. That building is bizarre and beautiful, emblematic of Swansea's winding streets and strange arrangements encouraged by the shape of the valley.

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  • chwareteg1  |  December 01 2011, 9:00PM

    This building is defiantly worthy of investment, I am sure it could be upgraded and turned into a prestige venue. This would then attract many performers to the city, at the moment we have to travel to Cardiff, with the swans in the premier league and drawing in visitors to the city, get many of the high profile artists here as well. Having been to see Paul Carack at the Grand Theatre last week, I am sure artists of his calibre could fill a venue such as this.

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  • geffodog  |  December 01 2011, 7:01PM

    Knock it down and put up something thats going to make money,this eyesore will end up like the palace theatre!

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