Before Grand Central Hall closed its doors in 2022, the Grade II listed building served a number of purposes during its lifetime, and some might prove to come as a surprise. From being a house of worship to screening films to hosting a symphony orchestra, this Liverpool landmark comes with a rich history.
If you’re familiar with this famous venue in the city, you’re certain, like many others, to have felt a little bit nostalgic when remembering this local treasure after it closed. However, after just a year of being non-operational, you can discover the venue for yourself at one of their live music shows. What’s more, getting to Grand Central Hall is easy as it’s only a 10-minute walk from the city centre.
Facts, Curiosities and Interesting Things about Grand Central Hall
1. A tempting facade
Looks can be deceiving, and Grand Central Hall’s exterior was intended to be just that. When it was originally built in 1905 as a grand Methodist Church, it was constructed in a way that would impress passersby and encourage “the religiously indifferent” to enter. Grand Central Hall was intended to be a “new kind of church” made to look “more like a department store” than a religious space. Its breathtaking stonework and Art Nouveau design certainly achieved this aesthetic appeal.
2. Lights, camera, action!
Not only was Grand Central Hall a place to pray in solitude and attend mass, it became a centre for countless social activities. Between 1908 and around 1944, the cultural hub served as a cinema. The New Century Picture Hall was one of the city’s very first cinemas. With a capacity for 3,500 people, Grand Central Hall certainly wasn’t short on space!
3. Versatility at its best
Although its role as one of Liverpool’s first cinemas remains warmly in many Liverpudlians’ hearts, Grand Central Hall was the very definition of versatility. Let’s not forget its beginnings as a Methodist Chuch as well as a cinema, and when the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall was destroyed by a fire in 1933, the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra moved to Grand Central Hall. After it was sold in 1990 by the church, it became the Barcelona Bar and Nightclub.
4. New beginnings
Not long after its performance area was opened, known as ‘The Dome’, the Grand Central Hall was taken over by local business owners in 2018. At this point, Grand Central was divided up into three areas. The new Liverpool Grand Central Hall became home to the luxurious Liverpool Grand Central Hotel, Hall and Grand Bazaar Food Hall.
The current end of Grand Central Hall’s story doesn’t match up with its successful history as a lively hub for religious and social activity. On March 29, 2022, the landlords of the emblematic venue on 35 Renshaw Street announced that its doors were closing to the public. Closing Grand Central Hall was a result of an alleged £1.2m in rent arrears.
What can you do at Grand Central Hall?
Fortunately, The Dome at Grand Central Hall reopened in May 2023 after major refurbishments under a new managing team. A new sound system, updated lighting and stage facilities means that the Grade II listed building is open for live music events. Keep an eye on their list of events to keep up-to-date with the artists coming to Renshaw Street.
Grand Central Hall’s doors had also been open to the Candlelight series. Spectacular tribute concerts to legendary artists such as Amy Winehouse, Fleetwood Mac, and Whitney Houston filled the storied 19th-century building. Although Candlelight won’t be bringing its signature sea of candles and talented musicians to Grand Central any time soon, there are still a whole host of shows taking place at other magnificent venues across the city.