University of York Central Hall

Celebrating 50 Years of York Conferences and Central Hall

Central Hall, now a Grade II listed building, was constructed in 1968. As its name suggests, Central Hall is set in the middle of the university’s campus west, surrounded by beautiful and lush landscaped spaces as well as a number of lakes.

An image of our iconic Central Hall at the University’s West Campus.

Built over three floors, the iconic building is currently in a period of phased refurbishment over the next few years, ensuring it can remain open for major events such as open days and graduation ceremonies and therefore minimising the impact on our students, staff and visitors.

The biggest and most impressive part of Central Hall’s refurbishment has been the AV systems, installed throughout the building with state of the art, energy efficient lighting and sound. These systems are fully integrated through the IT network allowing flexible control from multiple locations within the building. There has also been a major overhaul of the reception area which can be utilised for catering, as well as a refurbishment of the dressing rooms on the upper floor.

The building’s flexibility allows a range of events and set-ups. You can watch the Conference team turn the building from standard lecture theatre set up to cabaret in this time-lapse video;

As well as a space for students for every day lectures and graduation ceremonies, York Conferences manages this space for use by a variety of clients, ranging from the General Synod to Bodybuilding competitions.

Sarah Byrne, Director of Mosaic Events has more than 20 years’ events industry experience gained in the association, public and commercial sectors and works alongside the conference team said; “The team at York Conferences are really great to work with, super professional and keen to go that extra mile! It is always great to know you are in safe hands and that your Association event will be delivered to an exceptionally high standard. The facilities are extremely flexible with so many different spaces from small to Central Hall which hascapacity for over 1,000 people great in particular for association events, as they also have an adjoining 900 square metre exhibition space.  IT is included within each meeting space which helps with both support but also being more cost effective.  Finally they also en-suite bedrooms on-site and of course the city of York makes it a perfect destination in particular for any international association event.”

An image of an exhibition on Central Hall taken in the early 1970’s.

In previous years, due to its size, there have been various famous acts, usually bands in their early days playing college gigs before hopefully going on to make it big. In 1970, Sir Paul McCartney turned up to campus and said “Can I play tonight, Linda’s not been on stage before and I want to give her a few concerts before going on tour.” The Students Union replied, “Yes Mr McCartney, of course you can!”

An image of a band playing in Central Hall, with pink stage lighting.

Other bands that have played at the University of York include:
Jimi Hendrix, 1967
Pink Floyd, 1967
The Who in 1968 and 1970
Fleetwood Mac, 1970
Roxy Music, 1972
Status Quo, 1972
The Stranglers, 1976 and 1977
Dire Straits, 1978
U2, 1982
The Boomtown Rats, 1984
Jools Holland, 1989
The Levellers, 1989

This tiered auditorium holds over 1000 people and offers a superb venue for large conferences and concerts which can be used in conjunction with the Exhibition Centre and surrounding restaurants. If you would like to view this space further visit;