The Behind the Scenes column with The Piece Hall Trust

Big Gig: Elbow at the Piece Hall. Image: Danny Payne Photography.
Big Gig: Elbow at the Piece Hall. Image: Danny Payne Photography.

Looking after an important historical building the size and scale of The Piece Hall is a huge responsibility, but the Operations Team at the Grade I listed site take it in their stride, working together to oversee the day-to-day running of this iconic Georgian building.

Overseen by premises and compliance manager, Mikey Green, and headed up by day-today by Lynda Smith, the 14-strong team not only look after the bricks and mortar but are responsible for the safety of more than two million visitors who flock to visit this beautiful heritage destination every year.

Mikey said: “The team starts at 7am, opening up the building and making sure everything from the electrics to the heating are in working order ready for the shops, cafés and bars to open later on.

“Throughout the day, they’ll be doing regular checks to make sure the public areas are clean and tidy, as well as overseeing a year-round calendar of maintenance on everything from the slate roof to the 315 golden stone columns.

“We only work with companies who have specialist knowledge of listed buildings to ensure that the architectural heritage of The Piece Hall is preserved.”

Mikey also works alongside the Events Team to ensure the smooth running of the year-round programme of events. In 2019, the Operations Team has been involved from the early planning stages of huge spectacles including June’s ‘Big Gig Weekend’, which saw four days of live music from major artists including Elbow and Embrace, through to overseeing the construction of huge stages on site and managing crowds of up to 5,000 people.

Mikey added: “The most important part of my job is to make sure that the health and safety of everyone at The Piece Hall, from visitors and tenants to the partners we work with for events, comes first. My team are trained in security, first aid and customer service so we are pretty much qualified to deal with any and every situation as it arises.

“No two days are the same – but that’s one of the reasons I love working here.”

The team will be kept extra busy over the festive period, with footfall looking to step up as local people and tourists head to The Piece Hall to stock up on unique gifts and enjoy a festive celebration at the bars and restaurants.

There are also more than forty events and workshops taking place, including a twinkling Victorian carousel and the circus-style Salon Perdu in the courtyard, showcasing a fantastic programme of family shows, live music, stand-up comedy and cabaret.

Mikey says he will embrace the hustle and bustle; he loves seeing the building full of life as it played a big role in his childhood.

He added: “I’m a local boy from Queensbury so I spent many happy days here growing up. I’ve been working here since it re-opened on Yorkshire Day 2017 and it’s been brilliant to see the building get a new lease of life.

“I’m in a band called State Of Error and we actually played at The Piece Hall five or six times before it closed for refurbishment. I know we’ve recently announced Kaiser Chiefs playing a gig next year – if they’re looking for a local support act, we’d be more than happy to take to the stage here again!”