Corn Exchange Building Refurbishment Update


Contractors working on the refurbishment of Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre have continued to progress with essential works to protect and conserve the historic Grade I and Grade II listed buildings.

Since lockdown was implemented, Westridge Construction have been complying with government guidelines on social distancing employees on site for this stage of the works and addressing the restrictions and uncertainty around supply chains.

Some of the work undertaken includes:

  • Weatherproofing and drainage to the Corn Exchange roof.
  • Completion of structural repairs to the Corn Exchange’s original 200-year old timber frame and arches.
  • Re-tensioning of internal tie-rods installed to strengthen the timber frame to ensure the external roof can bear weight of structural improvements, new slates, insulation and theatrical infrastructure.
  • A crane is in place to allow access for slates, timber, insulation and other materials up to roof level.
  • Installation of a temporary roof structure over the Gallery space to progress inspections.

The estimated completion for the project is autumn 2021. 

Councillor Carmen Appich, Chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee said:

“Thanks to Westridge for their on-going commitment to the project in the face of unprecedented circumstances and for keeping the site operationally safe for staff to progress the works. Our priority will be to reduce any further delays and financial impact on both the council and Brighton Dome and continue this unique project to restore the wonderful heritage of the Royal Pavilion Estate.”

The major refurbishment of the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre, a former riding house and supper room built by the Prince Regent in the early 19th century, is the first phase of a wider project to reaffirm Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate as a key cultural destination by equipping it for a sustainable future. The longer-term vision aims to reunite the historic Estate to create a centre for heritage, culture and the performing arts which reflects the unique spirit of Brighton. It is anticipated that the revitalised Royal Pavilion Estate will support 1,241 FTE jobs and have an economic impact of £68m.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival added:

“Like so many other arts organisations in the city and across the country, Brighton Dome is facing a challenging time because of the coronavirus pandemic. The refurbishment of these historically important venues remains a beacon of hope in our future plans for bringing the arts back to our audiences and communities.”

The redevelopment will restore and reveal previously hidden heritage features; improve venue access for visitors, staff and performers, including new accessible toilets, hearing assistance systems and a public lift providing wheelchair access to all levels of the buildings. A new Creative Space will be available for community groups and emerging artists to use for workshops, meetings and rehearsals.

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Photography by Carlotta Luke