Skip to main content

Malt Cross


A mid-Victorian pub music hall set behind a 3-storey frontage building. It was built for a plumber named Weldon and was originally intended to contain a skating rink below the hall, but both the design and the proposed uses went through several changes before the work was completed and it is not easy today to determine the precise sequence of events by which it acquired its present form. What can be said with confidence is that it has no precise counterpart in any other surviving or known pub music hall design. The only access, as was commonly the case, was via the front bar. The music hall itself is at ground level, flat floored, about 45ft long, 30ft wide & 25 ft high to the springing of the timber arches supporting the semi-circular glazed roof. An iron balustraded balcony around three sides is supported on slender cast iron columns with elaborate dolphin caps. There is a simple, bow-fronted, high platform stage (modern, but reflecting the probable original form). Dressing booths on either side at balcony level have been removed. Immediately below the music hall was a lower hall also originally balconied but now horizontally divided. This room is now used as a restaurant (as it was in 1877). This was lighted by a central balustraded well in the music hall floor, an arrangement which meant that the centre of the floor was clear, with banquette seats at the sides, rather than the more usual cafe table and chairs layout. Under the lower hall was a vaulted cellar. The roof is structurally of some interest. Designed to have cast iron arched beams it was actually constructed with laminated wood arches. The Malt Cross had closed as a music hall by 1914. It is now occupied by a trust, a ‘community-based caring operation’ who carried out a major restoration in 1998 to turn the venue in to a café bar with an arts, events and live music programme. Further refurbishment in 2014 saw the hall’s basement levels and underground caves transformed in to an arts and heritage workshop space and the creation of a new gallery and rehearsal room. This is an extraordinary building looking like a cross between a supper room music hall and a draper’s shop (which it once was). Its present employment is about as close as one might get today to its original use.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1877 - 1914: Theatre (Music Hall)
Current state
Current use
Licensed premises (cafe-bar with live entertainment)
16 St James Street, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Further details
Other names
The Potters House
  • 1877 Design/Construction: as a music hall
    Edwin Hill
    - Architect
  • 1877 Owner/Management: Charles Weldon, proprietor
  • 1877 - 1914 Use: Theatre (Music Hall)
  • 1883 - 1889 Owner/Management: William Hulse, lessee
  • 1891 Owner/Management: Until when not known. E F Buxenstein, lessee
  • 1893 - 1900 Owner/Management: Arthur B Johnson, lessee
  • 1902 - 1904 Owner/Management: Don Kersley, LewisThompson, lessees
  • 1914 Owner/Management: Warwick & Richardson, proprietors
  • 1914 Owner/Management: Chapman, Watson proprietors
  • 1989 Owner/Management: Potters’ House Trust Co, lessees
  • 1998 Alteration: majors works of restoration and improvement
    Helmore Bewers
    - Architect
  • 1998 Design/Construction:
    Michael Holden Associates
    - Consultant
    theatre consultants
  • 2002 Owner/Management: The Malt Cross Trust, lessee. continuing
  • Capacity
  • Listing
Stage type
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Depth: 7ft 3
Proscenium width: 9ft 6 x 7ft 9 high
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: None