IT has hosted concerts by some of the most famous bands in the world; leading orchestras and opera stars have taken to its stage. It has also been a focal point for community events and awards evenings.

A new exhibition see the start of the centenary celebrations for East Lancashire's biggest venue - King George's Hall in Blackburn.

Work on the Walls Have Ears project began in February 2021 with funding from Arts Council England's Culture Recovery Fund in the wake of the closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the last few months, the team have recorded 16 oral histories, worked with over 20 volunteers and have digitised a sizeable amount of the physical archive of photographs, posters, and diaries held at the hall.

Stories from community groups, schools, musicians, classical performers, promoters, and members of the public show the range of ways in which the hall has been used over the last century by all corners of the community.

As part of the Heritage Open Days being held nationally, the Walls Have Ears exhibition will run until Sunday.

Historian Laura Owen who has led the project said: "I've met some amazing people over the last few months, whether that is working with volunteers from across the country to transcribe the oral histories, digitise the archive and write the exhibition, or when interviewing people who have come forward with memories of and links to the hall.

"There are some real stand out moments in the history of King George's Hall and I hope that people who visit our exhibition will learn something about the history of the town and feel pride in the legacy of the building in serving communities in Blackburn."

Executive Member for Public Health and Wellbeing at Blackburn with Darwen Council, Damian Talbot, said: "It's been a pleasure to lead on this project and to see it come to life with the stories of all the great bands that have played at King George's Hall over the years has been incredible.

"It just shows how great an asset this historic building is for the borough and our community. It's a key tourist attraction that has brought together people from all over the world to Blackburn and this new exhibition is one you won't want to miss."

In July 1913, King George V laid the foundation stone for the hall that would take his name. Part of the still-under-construction building was used as a field hospital during the First World War before the concert hall finally opened its doors to audiences in October 1921.

Since that time a staggering array of household names have graced its stages.

In 2017, a series of events funded by the Heritage Lottery were held to mark 1972, the year David Bowie performed at the venue on his famous Spiders From Mars tour.

Some of the world's greatest classical performers including homegrown singer Kathleen Ferrier, after whom a theatre bar is named, performed there.

The Walls have Ears exhibition will be held in the Windsor Suite at King George's Hall on Northgate. Visitors are encouraged to visit between 10am and 1pm.

For more information about the project and events at King George's Hall from

What is the best band or show you have seen at King George's Hall? Email