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Sun September 26 2021

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Students delve 700 years into the past at Shrewsbury’s Music Hall

19 Nov 10 University of Birmingham students were recently given unrivalled access to a historical Shropshire landmark, which is currently undergoing a £5.5 million transformation.

Building contractor ISG welcomed 20 students, from the University’s MA in Heritage Management course, onto site for a guided tour of Shrewsbury’s renowned Music Hall venue, which incorporates a Grade II* listed 13th century mansion building.

The Music Hall is in the early stages of a comprehensive programme of restoration and redevelopment to create a new heritage visitor centre, which will house some of the region’s most important historical collections. As ISG continues its painstaking investigative works into the fabric and structure of the buildings that make up the complex, John Yates, Historic Building Inspector for English Heritage and Tim Jenkins from the Shropshire Museum Service, recognised an excellent opportunity for students from the University’s Ironbridge Institute to get a unique perspective on the Music Hall and its context within historical Shrewsbury.

Students were provided with a detailed account of 700 years’ of Shrewsbury’s development, through the interpretation of the standing archaeology within the Music Hall complex. The site contains a unique collection of buildings including the Grade II* listed Vaughan’s Mansion, the Grade II listed Music Hall and Assembly Rooms, a medieval shut, 18th century prison cells and 20th century emergency HQ.

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John McStay, ISG’s project manager, commented: “The investigative phase of the project is revealing a great deal of new information about the development of this landmark building, and we are working closely with English Heritage and Shropshire Museum Service to ensure that all new discoveries are recorded. The timing of the student visit was perfect, as the structure is being sensitively stripped back, exposing features that have been hidden for many hundreds of years.”

The Music Hall will enable Shropshire Council to protect, display and interpret its collections in purpose-designed facilities and to present them in new and imaginative ways, by making use of contemporary interpretative display techniques. It will also offer a programme of education and learning activities and provide a resource for visitors and residents. The venue will offer trading and catering facilities as well as cultural events and corporate hospitality. The development is a flagship project for Shropshire Council, which aims to further establish Shrewsbury as a major cultural destination in the heart of England.

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