Trinity Hall unveiled the new-look dining hall at a special reception on Wednesday 9th April, attended by 200 guests from regional businesses and organisations, other branches of Cambridge University and members of the College.
The project has combined careful refurbishment of some of the original features in the Hall, together with installing the latest technology in terms of light, sound and heating.
Major features are the re-opening of the Minstrels’ Gallery which can now seat 16 people; restoring the roof beams to their natural oak finish; redecorating the reredos (ornamental screens) to emphasise the carved features and increasing the prominence of the fireplace, repairing and redecorating it.
A new lighting system with several different settings has been installed, the wood-block flooring has been replaced with new oak strip flooring and a sophisticated under-floor heating system.
Sound technology has also been used including the addition of an acoustic lining to the ceiling to reduce ambient sounds at events and the installation of a state-of-the-art PA system.
Rachel Mortimer Holdsworth, head of conference & catering services, said: “The background to this project is that we needed to repair elements of the fabric of the Hall such as the splits in the panelling and replace the woodblock floor finish and make a level floor. Services including lighting and heating also needed updating and we wanted to improve the acoustics in the hall.
“One of the key challenges – which we overcame thanks to excellent project management by our in-house team – was to create an aesthetic that was acceptable to everyone who uses the hall. With our working group comprising Fellows, Students and Staff, we were able to achieve this.
“The result is a stunning dining hall which retains the traditional elements of Trinity Hall but incorporates the latest technology.
“Although the newly refurbished hall will predominantly be used for dining, it is now suitable for other types of events such as drinks receptions, awards ceremonies and meetings.”
Other improvements to the hall include re-using the existing table-tops to provide a series of uniform length tables and replacing the original benches with chairs. The colour scheme has also been changed to card-room green on the lower panels and slipper satin above.
The dining hall can seat up to 150 people (an increase from 110 previously), including 16 seats in the Minstrels’ Gallery. The hall also has the flexibility to seat 120 theatre-style or 72 cabaret-style.