Bishop Nick has opened the new £11.5m state-of-the-art exhibition hall at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate.
It's the largest single-span space in the North of England - the size of 3.5 Olympic swimming pools - and is the largest project in the 180-year history of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.
Nigel Pulling, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, says, "Our new hall captures the essence of the Society – innovative and practical, and we’re thrilled with the result of all the hard work.”
Bishop Nick said the hall “fitted perfectly” within its surroundings on the 250-acre showground: “Not only is it unique, it is also ambitious and it shows something about Yorkshire: that we want to aim high. It is a fabulous building.”
The society’s deputy chief executive Heather Parry, who said,“Our new hall demonstrates our commitment to the farming community, to our existing and future customers, and is a positive contribution to the Yorkshire economy,”
To showcase its versatility in staging different events it was filled for the opening with an exhibition of luxury cars, a dinner set-up for 400, conference seating and even a funfair dodgems ride (and a table tennis table - see below right).
Hall 1 has a 36m glass front elevation, and replaces the original 1960s building. As well as the main exhibition space, it includes a café, large foyer, workshop space and offices.