Main Hall of Oxford Town Hall reopens after restoration of its vaulted ceiling

Published: Wednesday, 2nd September 2015

The Main Hall of Oxford's Grade II*-listed Town Hall has officially reopened after a £140,000 restoration of its Victorian vaulted ceiling.

The Main Hall of the iconic St Aldate’s building, which is owned and operated by Oxford City Council, has been closed since 1 June.

The work, which has been three years in the planning, was carried out by painting firm Mitie. The highly-skilled team hand-brushed and vacuumed the plasterwork to clean the ceiling, before applying the paint by hand.

The colours and paint were carefully matched to the existing ones and were approved by the City Council’s Conservation Team.

Free-standing scaffolding was used to protect the walls whilst work was carried out on the ceiling. Counter-weighted scaffolding was also used to protect the stage.

The Town Hall is used for a range of civic, corporate and community events, including wedding receptions and the Oxford Beer Festival. It generates more than £500,000 every year for the Council.

The hall was designed by Henry Hare and was officially opened by the Prince of Wales in 1897.

Council Leader Bob Price said: “Oxford Town Hall is a magnificent Victorian building and the Main Hall is the most impressive of its major public rooms.

“The City Council has maintained the Hall in excellent condition for well over a century, and this latest refurbishment and redecoration will ensure that it is in sparkling condition for the many events which will be taking place there in the coming years.”

Neill Benham, Customer Excellence Manager at Mitie, said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity for Mitie Painting to demonstrate traditional painting techniques and showcase our men and women’s specialist trade skills.

“It’s been a privilege to work on such an historic building and to work with the staff of Oxford City Council, all of whom contributed to this stunning project.”

The Main Hall was officially reopened today (2/9) in a ceremony attended by Council Leader Bob Price, Chief Executive Peter Sloman, Deputy Lord Mayor of Oxford Councillor Colin Cook, and representatives from Mitie.