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The Music Hall formed part of the Corn Exchange, built under Barnstaple’s Markets Scheme in 1855, the large first floor room being so used. In 1897 the hall was redesigned with a stage and organ from Broadgate House, opening as the Albert Hall. The seating was removable for dances. It was used as a concert hall, theatre and cinema. During the Second World War, quantities of food were stored on the ground floor and in 1941 this caught fire and destroyed the interior. A roof was built over the ground floor and it became a restaurant for the remainder of the war. A stage was added later, and it was used as a Civic Hall. As part of the Festival of Britain celebrations, it was completely rebuilt internally, the whole forming The Queen’s Hall – a theatre and ballroom. The auditorium had a flat dance floor and a raked balcony with fixed seating. It became the largest municipally owned venue in the South West. Externally the frontage designed by Gould 100 years previously was retained and topped by a modern green-tiled roof. The main entrance doors were given by the architect B W Oliver in commemoration of his Mayoralty (1931-32). A hospitality suite was built and named in memory of the town's famous John Gay. The Queens is an impressive three-storey stucco Italianate building with two storey wings; round arched windows to ground floor; bracketed cornice, all well restored in 1994. The interior is now that of a modern theatre, with permanently tiered seating; the stalls are raked; the walls enlivened with panels of cherry and maple. A new box-office, exhibition area and bar completed the modernisation. The operator, North Devon Theatres’ Trust, entered administration in January 2017 and the theatre closed. The council has now brought in Parkwood Theatres to run the venue.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1945 - 1950: 1952 continuing
Current state
Current use
Boutport Street, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 1SY, England
Further details
Other names
Music Hall (in Corn Exchange) , Albert Hall , Civic Hall , Queens Hall
  • Owner/Management: North Devon Council
  • Owner/Management: North Devon Theatres’ Trust, lessee
  • 1855 Design/Construction: as corn exchange
    R G Gould
    - Architect
  • 1897 Alteration: redecorated and refurbished to form Albert Hall
    Owen Davis
    - Architect
  • 1941 Alteration: converted to British restaurant after fire destroyed interior
    - Architect
  • 1945 - 1950 Use: 1952 continuing
  • 1952 Alteration: interior reconstructed as theatre with ballroom; new roof, exterior restored, balcony foyer added with John Gay hospitality suite
    B W Oliver
    - Architect
  • 1952 Design/Construction:
    Gardiner & Sons & Co Ltd
    - Consultant
    structural steelwork
    The Hall Manufactory Co Ltd
    - Consultant
    electrical installation
    The Stage Electrical Equipment Co Ltd
    - Consultant
    stage equipment
  • 1993 Owner/Management: The Queens Theatre Trust, lessees
  • 1994 Alteration: interior extensively modernised; insertion of permanent seating, new box-office, bar; new stage facilities, dressing rooms etc.
    Burrell Foley Fischer
    - Architect
  • 1994 Design/Construction:
    Alan Conisbee Associates
    - Consultant
    structural engineers
  • 2017 Owner/Management: Parkwood Theatres, operator
  • Capacity
    1855: 600
  • Capacity
    1910: 700
    1952: 880
    1993: 740
  • Capacity
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Pros flat
Building dimensions: 1910 auditorium 80ft x 41ft
Stage dimensions: Depth: 10.6m Width SL: 6.61m SR: 6.61m
Proscenium width: 9.14m
Height to grid: 10.98 m
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: None