UK’s oldest building firm wins Brighton Dome renovation

Kent-based contractor R Durtnell & Sons Ltd, established in 1591, has won the £14.9m contract towards the renovation of the Grade I listed Brighton Dome, beginning early February.

The conservation and refurbishment of the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre,  is phase one of the three-phase regeneration of the Royal Pavilion Estate, which also includes the Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Pavilion Garden.

Durtnell & Sons Ltd is the UK’s oldest construction company and has have a proven track record in delivering a number of high-profile heritage restorations and cultural projects including Dulwich Picture Gallery, Turner Contemporary in Margate, and Brighton College’s music school.

The Corn Exchange, formerly the Prince Regent’s Riding house, will reveal and restore stunning and previously hidden heritage features as well as providing extra seating and an impressive new viewing gallery. Major improvements to the Studio Theatre, once a supper room, will include balcony seating, a new artists’ creation space and a café opening onto a plaza at street level.

The majority of funds towards the £21m phase one costs have already been secured from a range of sources, including major contributions from National Lottery players via Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as commitments from a number of charitable trusts and individual donors, council capital funding and a public works loan secured by the council on behalf of Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival. Fundraising will continue throughout the build.

The project is being delivered by two of the UK’s leading cultural and heritage organisations, Royal Pavilion & Museums and Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival which manage and care for the Royal Pavilion Estate owned by Brighton & Hove City Council.

Highlighting the economic contribution that the Royal Pavilion Estate makes to Brighton & Hove through tourism, Council leader Warren Morgan expressed relief that the buildings would be renovated. “The buildings are magnificent but they are facing unique challenges and are in need of refurbishment and upgrade,” he said.

Andrew Comben, chief executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said: “We are delighted to have appointed such an established family-owned business as the contractor to begin works on the restoration and transformation of our historic Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre.”

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