Mammoth spring clean is dust in time for hall’s big revamp: Leeds Town Hall spring clean

21 Feb 2023

Mammoth spring clean is dust in time for hall’s big revamp

Leeds Town Hall Arts Development

With more than a century’s worth of dust and dirt to tackle, it could very well be the country’s toughest spring cleaning job.

But the mammoth, once-in-a-lifetime task of sprucing up Leeds Town Hall’s stunning Victoria Hall won’t be without its perks either.

Over the next few months, a team of specialist cleaners are set to scale towering scaffolding inside the hall, charged with removing layers of grime and urban pollution which have built up since the building opened in 1858.

There, more than 50 feet in the air, they will get a remarkably rare, up close look at some of the stunning heritage features crafted by the building’s Victorian designers to adorn the room’s ornate ceiling.

They include two beautiful statues of angelic figures playing gilded trumpets along with the hundreds of golden stars which line the vivid blue ceiling above the main stage.

The angels flank a huge decorative wheel, one of only two of its kind in the world, which usually sits atop the town hall's immense pipe organ. At the top of wheel is the unmistakable Leeds city coat of arms. Decked with the iconic Leeds golden owls, it carries the city’s motto Pro Rege et Lege, Latin for “For King and the Law.”

Once the decades of accumulated dust have been successfully removed, contractors and artists are expected to head into the hall early in the summer, where they will begin the task of restoring Victoria Hall’s paintwork to its former glory.

Matthew Sims, Leeds City Council’s head of arts and events, said: “The Victoria Hall restoration is a true, once-in-a-lifetime project where we’ve had the chance to rediscover so many beautiful features that were part of the original vision for this unique performance space.

“Because opportunities to access the highest points of the hall have been so few and far between over the decades, inevitably that’s meant a lot of dust and dirt accumulating in some of the hardest to reach areas and getting rid of that will be one of the first steps in restoring the hall to its former glory.

“Everyone at the town hall has been so excited to uncover aspects of the space that we’ve never seen before and it’s really helped us to build a picture of how this project will connect the hall’s past and future.”

The Victoria Hall scheme is part of wider, ongoing efforts to refurbish and restore Leeds Town Hall, preserving a Grade 1 listed public asset which is one of the city’s most recognisable buildings.

The project will also ensure the building can host large-scale events and concerts, generating significant income for the council and the city and engaging with the wider audiences.

Also part of the project is the refurbishment of the Leeds Town Hall organ, which has already seen most of the instrument’s 6,000 pipes removed. Much of the 70 tonne organ’s ageing mechanism will now be replaced, including its soundboards, wind supply and console.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “Leeds Town Hall is one of the city’s most beloved buildings and a symbol of our city’s rich history and heritage.

“Preserving this iconic landmark is hugely important, not only as a tribute to the city past but as an investment in its future, ensuring that the town hall can continue to be a unique performance space Leeds can be proud of for many generations to come.”

More information on the town hall, including upcoming events and how you can support the building by making a donation and being part of fundraising, can be found at:


For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team