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Coventry Music and students welcome HRH Prince Charles

Published: Monday, 28 January 2019

prince charles visit

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales today visited Drapers’ Hall and enjoyed some young musical talent

Drapers’ Hall is one of the 7 for 70 projects to celebrate His Royal Highness’s 70th birthday

The Prince of Wales, Founder and President of The Prince’s Foundation, was seeing how The Prince’s Foundation and Historic Coventry Trust are working together to revive the Grade II* listed Drapers’ Hall as a creative and vibrant centre for educating young musicians from Coventry’s schools and for the performance of professional classical music. 

On arrival, His Royal Highness was​ received by the Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands Mr John Crabtree OBE, before being shown the designs and plans for the restoration of Drapers’ Hall by Nicola Dyer, Senior Project Manager, The Prince’s Foundation and Ian Harrabin MBE, Chairman of  Historic Coventry Trust.

The project is an important part of The Prince’s Foundation’s 7 for 70 projects. In 2018, to coincide with The Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday, The Prince’s Foundation launched the initiative to identify and undertake seven high-impact community regeneration projects throughout the United Kingdom. 

Drawing on over 20 years’ experience of heritage-led regeneration, project management, community engagement and architectural design, The Prince’s Foundation is working in partnership with local communities to support them in undertaking their regeneration projects.  

During the viewing of the plans, His Royal Highness met Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Jobs, who has championed the transfer of ownership of Drapers' Hall to Historic Coventry Trust as part of the largest transfer of historic assets from a local authority to a charity ever in the UK. 

His Royal Highness was taken on a tour of the building led by Ms Dyer and Mr Harrabin and joined by the High Sheriff of the West Midlands, Mr Chris Loughran and Lord Mayor of Coventry, Cllr. John Blundell. 
During the tour His Royal Highness was introduced in the Reading Room to Mr Mark Steele, Coventry Music Service Lead, the future tenants of the restored Hall, and met some of Coventry‘s  young musicians who performed for His Royal Highness, and who will be using the Hall for music education after its restoration.

His Royal Highness also visited the Dining Room and heard from Mr Adam Yates, Head of Developer Services and Mr Paul Thompson, Assistant Project Manager at Museum of London Archaeology on the excavations being carried out prior to the main works starting on the Hall. It is hoped the excavations will uncover evidence of Coventry Castle, and reveal more about how the area came to be the industrial heart of medieval Coventry, then the fourth largest city in England and a cloth making hub.

His Royal Highness concluded his tour of the building with a visit to the basement of the Hall led by Dr.Geoff Willcocks, Vice Chair of Historic Coventry Trust, to see the 19th Century kitchen and scullery, the remains of the first 17th Century Drapers’ Hall and the spaces used as an air raid shelter during the bombing of Coventry in the Second World War.

Lord Mayor of Coventry Cllr John Blundell, said: “We are honoured to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales to Coventry to see one of our city’s great cultural treasures. “Drapers’ Hall is a part of our heritage and when it is opened it will help some of our young people to further their love of music, so it is a perfect example of why we have been named UK City of Culture 2021. “We are very grateful to The Prince’s Foundation, the Historic Coventry Trust and the Arts Council for their work in restoring the Hall to its former glory and we are delighted that it is once more going to be a part of city life.”

Cllr O’Boyle, said: “I am delighted his Royal Highness is coming to Coventry to visit Drapers’ Hall and give the plans the Royal seal of approval.  “To bring some of our finest and most historic assets into public use again is something I am passionate about and I thank the Prince for his support both for Drapers’ and for Coventry."

The £5.5m restoration of Drapers’ Hall received planning and listed building consent in December 2018. The main contractor is expected to start on site in Spring 2019 after completion of the enabling works and the archaeological excavations. It’s hoped the building will re-open in 2020, in time for Coventry’s City of Culture year in 2021. 

Article taken from Coventry Council Intranet.

To see the full story catch us on ITV evening news on 28/01/19 or read the full story here

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