What do Elton John, The Lord of the Rings and the BBC have in common?
The answer is they are all part of the history of Watford Colosseum and Town Hall. Elton John performed there in 1972, and 30 years later the London Philharmonic Orchestra recorded the original soundtrack for The Lord of the Rings.
For decades the BBC has used the space as its principal recording venue, and in 1965 another famous score was recorded there – The Sound of Music – which went on to sell 20 million copies.
With such an illustrious history, the venue is internationally renowned for its excellent acoustics.
In 2020 a budget of £24 million was set aside to refurbish this Grade-II listed venue. Discussions ranged from restoring art deco features to upgrading ventilation systems.
On the one hand, improvements to sustainability were a key aspect of the upgrade. At the same time it was imperative that the original acoustics were preserved and enhanced.
By 2022 the project had reached Stage 4, and we were entrusted with the role of acoustics consultants by contractors Morgan Sindall.
Critical aspects of the project extend to structural enhancements and better internal sound insulation between parts of the building.
We have already carried out a detailed review of previous proposals and have drawn attention to significant areas. These included door types, some of which were designated as “heritage” doors which cannot simply be replaced with modern fittings.
As work onsite progresses, we look forward to the upgrades in the performance, recording and hospitality spaces.
Those outstanding acoustics need to be enjoyed for decades to come, so that Watford Colosseum and Town Hall can host more great recordings and memorable performances.