Halifax misses out on hosting Great Exhibition of the North

View of Halifax from Beacon Hill
View of Halifax from Beacon Hill

Halifax has missed out on hosting the Great Exhibition of the North.

Bradford and Sheffield have made the shortlist alongside Blackpool and a joint bid from Newcastle and Gateshead.

Sam Mason, chair of the Halifax bid and Chief Executive of The Piece Hall Trust: “Whilst we’re naturally disappointed not to make the final shortlist, the process of bidding has brought together a strong Halifax consortium of unique and

exceptional venues and organisations, and together we have generated some terrific ideas, some of which we still hope to be able to bring to life in the near future.

“The bidding process has generated a lot of excitement and enthusiasm in Halifax and Calderdale, and we know people will be disappointed not to have the opportunity to present our fantastic venues and ideas in person to the panel.

“There is a huge amount of potential for us to position Halifax as the beating heart of the mill and market towns that have for generations been pivotal to the success of the northern powerhouse.

“We hope that a real legacy of the Great Exhibition will be the resurgence of these towns across the North, and we fully support the principles behind the exhibition.

“We wish the best of luck to all the remaining shortlisted candidates and would like to put our support behind our close Yorkshire neighbour, Bradford, and offer any assistance we can to make The Great Exhibition of the North the huge success that it deserves and needs to be.”

The Great Exhibition was launched by previous chancellor George Osborne to showcase the best of the North of England as part of his wider ‘northern powerhouse’ drive.

Bradford has submitted a bid centred on the National Media Museum with City Hall, St George’s Hall and Alhambra Theatre also hosting events with City Park providing a space for 10,000 people.

Sheffield is proposing to host events across the city centre with “satellite” shows also taking place in neighbouring parts of South Yorkshire.

The Government has promised £5m of funding for the event with organisers expected to find additional sponsorship and other sources of financial support.

A further £15m will be put into a “legacy fund” connected to the event.

The Great Exhibition of the North is due to take place in July and August 2018.

Sir Gary Verity, the chief executive of regional tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, has been asked by the Government to chair the exhibition board.

The shortlisted bids will be assessed over the summer and an announcement about the winning city is expected in October.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, said:“The Great Exhibition of the North is a unique opportunity to celebrate the creativity of Northern England and I am thrilled we received so many innovative bids.

“British arts and culture are among the finest in the world. I am determined we democratise the arts and celebrate the best in every part of our nation.

“What’s more, cultural investment can bring enormous benefits for communities - it drives regeneration, promotes tourism and increases life chances.

“The shortlisted bids show just what’s on offer and show we have brilliant options for hosting the Great Exhibition of the North. Whichever is successful, this exhibition will leave an important legacy to benefit the whole country.”

Sir Gary Verity, Chair of the Great Exhibition of the North board, added: “The quality of all nine submissions was incredibly strong and I’d like to congratulate the four towns and cities who have made it through to the final shortlist.

“I and the Great Exhibition Board are very much looking forward to meeting the teams behind the four shortlisted bids to hear their exciting proposals in person. This is an incredible opportunity to really showcase the creativity and culture we have here in the North and I know whoever wins will thoroughly embrace that vision.”