introduction - The Royalty Harborne

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The New Royalty
Lets take a look at what the restored Royalty might provide

Our ideas for the Royalty are at an early stage but we think the Art Deco building can be sensitively restored to provide the following facilities:
  • An entrance lobby
  • A hall anti room leading to main auditorium which can combine with the auditorium to make a larger space)
  • A large auditorium with cinema facilities and stage
  • Dressing rooms for performers
  • Meeting rooms
  • Storage rooms for group equipment
  • Circle auditorium seating area
  • Exhibition Gallery
  • Restaurant and bar
  • A kitchen
  • Administration offices
  • Male and female toilets
  • Visitor parking
  • Drop off parking
The building must be available for the use by the widest possible cross-section of the public. In brief, community use objectives will be:

  • To make the centre available to local groups, seeking to provide a service to the local community, at a competitive price;
  • To ensure that the way the centre is designed and used reflects the needs and aspirations of as wide a cross-section of the Harborne's community as possible; 
  • To ensure that the centre is managed in such a way that recognises the differing needs, levels of engagement and backgrounds of Harborne's residents, and to plan and deliver business accordingly.
  • To manage the balance between community and commercial use of the centre in a way that satisfies the local community.
Space within the building can be broadly divided into: 
Main Auditorium

Day nursery facilities / before after school club
Pensioners’ events / services
Lunch / supper clubs (with external catering)
Yoga / fitness / dance sessions
Main auditorium plus ante room and entrance lobby

Bring and buy / antiques / vintage fairs
Pop-up shops
Live performances / theatre / film / music / comedy
Parties / weddings and wedding receptions (with external catering)
Meeting room(s)

Community / council meetings
Smaller classes / sessions / clubs
Youth clubs / Scouts / Guides


Exhibitions / Functions


Income will derive from four principal sources:
·         Rent for commercial use. An area exists for a self-contained commercial office suite which will provide a regular income.

·         Rent for community use. This will have to be somewhat lower than the rent for commercial use.

·         Project funding. HRT can apply for project funding were this supports the objectives of the Trust. HRT could act as a facilitator for bids for funding from other local groups, where the physical space at the Royalty centre would be critical for the success of a project.

·         Local fundraising. From time to time it may be possible / necessary to conduct local fundraising to bring in income - probably for specific events only, and not to bring in core funding.

·         A further source is pump priming and loans. These may be necessary in the first one or two years of operation but would need to be planned in such a way that continued liability was limited. Loans may not be possible or desirable given HRTs ownership of the centre and the levels of risk involved. 

To sum up

The Royalty will act in the best interest of the local community by:

1) Assisting the sustainability of the local economy of Harborne

2) Bringing additional employment to the High Street

2) Retaining a valuable local leisure facility for both performers and audiences

3) Working to try and enable the development of youth services both in performing arts and youth outreach services

4) Retaining an iconic building on the High Street and preserving the street scene.

The Royalty with restoration and improvements whilst retaining is key architectural features is suited to providing a variety of activities including:

Monthly comedy club
Regular music shows bringing local, touring national and international groups
Professional and amateur pantomime shows
Art gallery showcasing artists
Primary and secondary school theatre, music and dance shows
Enabling access events including Mencap Drama group, chaperone training, drugs education
Under 18 events including music and live bands
Youth Café
Dance shows and stage schools
Youth theatre
Public Café open several days per week
Mother and Toddler Group
Pre school Nursey
Before and After School Club
Pensioners Luncheon Club
Dance classes
Training Events
Regional Events
Business promotion events
Public meetings
Childrens parties
Meeting room facilities
Citizens Advice Bureau; A drop in service which is held on specific days during the month
Activity Groups including Tai Chi, Zumba, 50+ keep fit, Slimming, Pilates, Yoga, Line Dancing,

The new Royalty can host Baby sensory classes, painting and drawing classes, Beavers, Brownies, Cubs and Scouts, Craft workshops.

Although the parking facilities of the Royalty are not extensive, they are generous compared to most of Harborne's venues and sufficient to support the Royalties activities.

Parents collecting or waiting for children or attending classes or events will be able to enjoy a chat and freshly made coffee/tea and delicious home made cakes in the Royalties café in a friendly atmosphere.

The Royalty will bring significant extra business to the end of the High Street, complimenting the local restaurants and Vine pub. Additionally the Royalty will provide ‘non commercial ‘ benefits to Harborne which no other venue on the High street can provide.

Wherever possible and as a policy we will actively engage in partnerships with entrepreneurs and groups who have particular experience in providing opportunity with the Trust focussed on providing the facility and basic support services. The Trust will avoid wherever possible attempting to provide services itself which others have better knowledge and experience of delivering. It will however always ensure that delivery is in the interest of the trusts objectives both financially and also of serving the community.

The Trust will encourage the participation of volunteers. This not only assists in lowering the cost base but is important in engaging with the community and ensuring that the output of the Royalty has the support of the community

Hebden Bridge Picturehouse

Hebden Bridge Picture House (HBPH) is a beautiful single auditorium Grade II listed building (Ref:1379945) in the centre of Hebden Bridge. It is owned and run by Hebden Royd Town Council (HRTC) which has a 125 year lease on the site following an asset transfer from Calderdale Council in 2012. HRTC have successfully operated since 1 April 2012 the site proving its sustainability, financial viability and importance to the local community and are committed to maintaining this unique building and service in the town.
The cinema and its flanking two shop units date from 1921. The front has giant Doric columns and pilasters supporting a deep entablature. The Interior has an original foyer, original panelling and cornice, coved and decorated plaster ceiling. The original staircase to the left leads up to the balcony and the single auditorium retains most of its original classical style decoration. Originally seating 900, the Picture House rapidly became the main place of entertainment for the weavers, mill-workers, and other residents of Hebden Bridge and the upper Calder Valley. The local press in 1921 is quoted as saying the building is "one of the best Picture Houses in the North of England". The Picture House continued to be a thriving source of entertainment well into the war years. In the late 1960s, when many of the mills had closed, the Picture House nearly suffered the fate of so many town cinemas and was very close to becoming a carpet warehouse. It was saved for the town by the actions of the then Hebden Royd Urban District Council (UDC).
The UDC purchased the Picture House from its private owners for the sum of about £6,000. The cinema passed into Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council’s control with local government reorganisation, and after a short period CMBC oversaw a subsequent modernisation in 1978.
In 1999, the future of the Picture House again appeared to be at risk when the site was earmarked for development. A strong community campaign, “Friends of the Picture House”, rapidly mobilised and following a mass lobby of the Calderdale MBC full council in July 1999 the development plans were rejected and the future of the Picture House secured. As one campaigner put it at the time, “I speak of "Our" Picture House… it has become part of our heritage.”
Since then the Picture House has blossomed as one of the very few cinemas in Britain under municipal ownership. Under enlightened management, audiences have grown. Typically, between 15 and 26 film titles are shown each month across an average of 52 screenings, together with live broadcasts of theatre, ballet and opera, and the programming deliberately caters for all tastes, ranging from mainstream Hollywood to art-house and foreign language films. It is a vital facility for both the young and old.
The Picture House, now seating 490 people, is also used extensively for other community-led and commercial events. Among those using the cinema in recent years have been Hebden Bridge Arts Festival (who use it for their headlining acts), Hebden Bridge Trades Club, BBC, Calder Valley Search & Rescue Team, Calder High School, Scout Road School and Riverside Junior School. The Calder Valley Youth Theatre used it for many years but has now successfully outgrown the venue.
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