First phase of Central Hall refurbishment completed
The first phase of the refurbishment of Central Hall in the South District, which restored some of the original features of the former church was recently unveiled by the Minister for Heritage and Culture Dr John Cortes.
Members of Gibraltar Cultural Services who were instrumental in completing the refurbishment were also present including head of facilities Mark Cortes, Seamus Byrne and Giovi Vinales.
When Mark Cortes found old photographs of Central Hall as a church it inspired the team to try to bring back some of its original heritage value.
“We [GCS] got in touch with the Heritage Trust and the Ministry for Heritage and we have been working closely together in revealing the inside of what was once a church,” said Dr Cortes
The false ceiling was removed to reveal the original iron work. Sections of wall also had its rendering removed to reveal the original stone work. Photos of the old church also form part of the refurbishment.
It now gives it a completely different feel. The hall will return to being a cultural venue once again
The works were part of the Covid projects GCS undertook during lockdown. Despite the refurbishment having been completed in December 2020 it was decided not to reveal the works at a time when Gibraltar was mourning the loss of its residents to Covid-19.
The church originally had a stained glass window at the eastern façade and the GCS held a competition for a contemporary stained glass window. There were numerous entries with the winner being Sean Ballester with his piece titled ‘The Dance’.
“And, then I have these two dancers which symbolise and represent those who come here to celebrate their love and the union between them and the love for dance as well.”
It is intended for Culture to use the Hall for their own functions and events and to be able to produce cultural events there as well as an extra venue to the John Mackintosh Hall, to Inces Hall and the Alameda open air theatre and to make the most of this wonderful space.