History of the Hall

1861 The Colston Hall Company bought the land from Colston Boy’s School to fund their vision of building a concert hall in the city. 1867 Colston Hall opened to the public on 20 September.

1898 Early in the morning of 1 September, a fire broke out in Clark’s clothing factory that spread to the Hall. In the auditorium, only the walls remained, and the Hall’s impressive organ was completely destroyed. Three years later, in 1901, the second Colston Hall opened.

1919 The second Hall was bought from the Colston Hall Company by Bristol Corporation for £65,000 and was managed by the City Council until 2011.

1935 Colston Hall closed for remodelling. It re-opened in December 1936 – now everyone could actually see the orchestra.

1945 The Hall survived World War II only soon after to catch fire as a result of a discarded cigarette. An entry in the hall diary on 5 February simply states, “Hall destroyed by fire”.

1951 The fourth Colston Hall was opened to mark the Festival of Britain.

1963 The Beatles made their debut at Colston Hall on 15 March 1963. A year later The Beatles returned to the Hall on the final date of their UK tour. Just before beginning their finale, four students gained access to the stage and emptied bags of flour on the Mop Tops’ heads.

1970s The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Elton John, Thin Lizzy, Roxy Music, Bob Marley, Lou Reed and Ella Fitzgerald graced the stage during the seventies.

2009 The award-winning new foyer opened to acclaim in September.

Foyer opening night 2009

2011 Bristol Music Trust was formed to manage Colston Hall and support music and music education across the region in May 2011.

2014 The Thank You for the Music £45 million campaign was launched to secure the future of Colston Hall and transform it into an iconic, international standard venue.

2017 Colston Hall celebrates its 150th anniversary.