New History of Shakespeare Hall Available

“What’s behind the Green Door” is a new history of the Durham Community Association (DCA), Shakespeare Hall and North Road in Durham.

The 48 page book marks the 70th anniversary of DCA which started in Shakespeare Hall in 1948.

It also looks at thehistory of Shakespeare Hall which dates back to the early 1830s when the building was first known as the Traveller’s Rest Inn. It was bought in 1873 by a local temperance organisation who wanted a large hall to hold their meetings.. In 1874 it re-opened as the Shakespeare British Workman temperance bar and hall. Since then the upstairs hall and meeting rooms have been the venue for all sorts of social, educational and recreational meetings and events, as well as auctions, religious services, political, civic and trade union gatherings, and even dog shows.

As Shakespeare Hall and DCA are two of the longest established names in North Road, the opportunity was taken to include a brief history of the street, tracing some major developments since it was first built in the 1830s.

“Shakespeare hall has a fascinating history” said the books author, local historian Ross Hamilton. “Over the years, thousands of people have gone through the green door and up the stairs for dances, events, talks, lectures, meetings, keep fit, disccusions and much more. The book is intended to capture something of the atmosphere of Shakespeare Hall and the Community Association- and the important role the have played, and still play in the city’s life”

Ross added “The story of North Road has many interesting twists and turns. It hasn’t had the same attention as the older parts of the city and I hope the brief history of the street starts to fill in some of the gaps”

The book is now available for a small donation from Durham Communtiy Association at Shakespeare Hall, North Road, Durham, DH1 4SQ

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