• The Hall has been host to many famous faces over the year including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Engelbert Humperdinck
  • The Philharmonia Orchestra say the Hall is one of the best places in which to play music in England
  • The hall cost £21,000 to build in 1913 which is around £1,000,000 today

“One of the few concert halls in Britain worth singing in”

Alderman Jonathan North was the driving force behind the decision to create a suitable venue for music in Leicester. It was necessary as up to this point the city had depended on Thomas Cook’s Temperance Hall on Granby Street. After a temporary building in Museum Square proved successful a permanent one was planned for Victoria Park.

Named after the sixth Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort, De Montfort Hall was the first purpose-built concert hall in Leicester. It was designed by local architect Mr Shirley Harrison and opened in July 1913. Praised for its fine acoustics, opera singer Louisa Tettrazini said, “There are only three halls in Britain worth singing in. One is in Glasgow, the Usher Hall in Edinburgh and this one”.

The Hall comprises a flexible auditorium that can be laid out in a number of different ways (tiered, standing, cabaret, dance floor etc.), with a 400 to 2,200 capacity, four bars and an outdoor amphitheatre with a capacity from 250 to 7,000. The Hall also houses an historic organ, which was donated by the industrialist Mr Alfred Corah and is the only surviving example of a large concert organ constructed by Leicester organ builders Stephen Taylor and Son Ltd. All the Corah firm’s employees were given the day off when it was presented to the Hall.

De Montfort Hall opening ceremony, July 1913

Concert Hall to Drill Hall

At first De Montfort Hall was mainly used as a concert venue, the first orchestra to play being the De Montfort Orchestra in September 1913. During the First World War the Hall was requisitioned for the war effort until 1919 when King George V and Queen Mary visited. After the war the venue returned to providing world-class musical performances, including concerts by the Leicester Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent. During the Second World War the Hall was again requisitioned, this time for use as a drill hall.

The Beatles at De Montfort Hall. Leicester Mercury

More stars than the sky!

From the Band of the 12th Lancers playing at its opening, De Montfort Hall has seen a host of orchestras, choirs, ballet, and opera companies. In the 1950s artists like Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra helped establish its reputation as a popular music venue. The 1960s saw The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Cilla Black and Leicester´s Engelbert Humperdinck perform. The 70s saw the Bee Gees, Beach Boys, Blondie, Genesis, The Jam and David Bowie on stage.

More recently Leicester’s own Kasabian have played here and a varied programming across all musical genres has ensured the popularity of the Hall well into the 21st century.

Find out how to visit.

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Gallery

Roman Leicester

(47- 500) A military fort was erected, attracting traders and a growing civilian community to Leicester (known as Ratae Corieltauvorum to the Romans). The town steadily grew throughout the reign of the Romans.

Medieval Leicester

(500 – 1500) The early years of this period was one of unrest with Saxon, Danes and Norman invaders having their influences over the town. Later, of course, came Richard III and the final battle of the Wars of the Roses was fought on Leicester’s doorstep.

Tudor & Stuart Leicester

(1500 – 1700) The wool trade flourished in Leicester with one local, a former mayor named William Wigston, making his fortune. During the English Civil War a bloody battle was fought as the forces of King Charles I laid siege to the town.

Georgian Leicester

(1700 – 1837) The knitting industry had really stared to take hold and Leicester was fast becoming the main centre of hosiery manufacture in Britain. This new prosperity was reflected throughout the town with broader, paved streets lined with elegant brick buildings and genteel residences.

Edwardian Leicester

(1901 – 1910) Electric trams came to the streets of Leicester and increased literacy among the citizens led to many becoming politicised. The famous 1905 ‘March of the Unemployed to London’ left from Leicester market when 30,000 people came to witness the historic event.

Early 20th Century Leicester

(1910 – 1973) The diverse industrial base meant Leicester was able to cope with the economic challenges of the 1920s and 1930s. New light engineering businesses, such as typewriter and scientific instrument making, complemented the more traditional industries of hosiery and footwear manufacturing.

Modern Leicester

(1973 – present day) Industry was still thriving in the city during the 1970s, with the work opportunities attracting many immigrants from all over the world. While industry has declined in recent years, excellent transport links have made Leicester an attractive centre for many businesses. The City now has much to be proud of including its sporting achievements and the richness of its cultural heritage and diversity.

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