The history of Hull City Hall
In 1900 the Hull Corporation started work on the 'Junction Street' scheme. This involved the formation of a square centrally located within they named Queen Victoria Square. Besides the square there were also plans to build a public hall, this was to be on a site owned by the Corporation that extended from Queen Victoria Square to Chariot Street.
The proposed building was to include a principal hall and three reception halls on the first floor, with its main entrance facing the square.
The main hall was to have side and rear galleries and with an orchestra, holding up to 3,000 people. The smaller halls were to be used separately for private functions or in conjunction with the main hall. In 1905 a proposal was put forward for the hall to incorporate an art gallery in one of the smaller halls to the rear of the building on the first floor.
Frank Matcham, who was a renowned architect working on many theatres throughout the country, was closely consulted on the design of the main hall.
In addition to this shops were incorporated into the ground floor facing Paragon Street and Carr Lane.
Work commenced on the City Hall and in 1903, Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales laid the Foundation stone. By 1909 the City Hall was in use, and in 1911 they installed an organ in the main hall, however there appears to be no record of the City Hall having ever been formally opened.
The Victoria Art Gallery was opened in 1910 and continued to be a gallery until 1927, when they moved it to a new building in Queen Victoria Square, later known as Ferens Art Gallery. The Victoria Art Gallery remained empty until 1929, when it became an exhibition room once more, however this time the exhibits were Prehistoric Antiques and in 1931 it became the Mortimer Suite.
In 1941, Hull was badly bombed and the city centre sustained a considerable amount of damage, along with some of its magnificent building , including the City Hall. The result being extensive damage to the roof, main hall and the total destruction of the organ, which led to the closing of the City Hall.
In 1950 the City Hall reopened and the following year, 1951, a new organ was installed.
In 1957, the Prehistoric Antiques exhibited in the Mortimer Suite were moved to other premises. The small area at the back of the Mortimer Suite with a parquet floor, was still used for temporary exhibitions, and they still refer to it today as Victoria Galleries. Nowadays it is not used to exhibit paintings.
The Mortimer Suite is now available for private hire and holds numerous and very varied functions, from wedding receptions, bar mitzvah', birthday parties, science fiction fairs and record fairs.