Nostalgia: Usher Hall

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IT reopened two years ago after a near £40 million facelift gave it a new glass-covered wing, a bar, a cafe and a stunning spiral staircase.

But questions have now been raised after engineers said they couldn’t rule out a repeat of a power failure which forced the cancellation of a showpiece Festival concert.

Elton John fans queue for  tickets at the Usher Hall in February 1976.

Elton John fans queue for tickets at the Usher Hall in February 1976.

Since the building opened in 1914, following a £100,000 gift from philanthropist Andrew Usher, it has become known as one of the world’s most outstanding concert halls and a famous landmark.

Big names such as Elton John in 1976, Johnny Victory in 1960 and Cliff Richard in 1957 are among those to have attracted huge crowds. Indeed, in 1960, a view of the Usher Hall looked very different to what it does now, Caledonian Railway Station being a prominent

obstacle.

But two years later, the hall was given the majesty it deserves when King Olav of Norway received the salute from The Queen’s Colour Squadron during his state visit to

Scotland.

Previous renovation work in 1987 saw builders Frank Devlin and Stewart Munro replace copper on the hall’s roof.

Despite the problems which left more than 1200 concert-goers disappointed last Tuesday, the Usher Hall has a long and proud Festival history.

It was chosen as the venue for the opening of the first ever Edinburgh International Festival in 1947.

And as the Usher Hall approaches its centenary in 2014, there is no doubt it will continue to play a central role in the Capital’s cultural scene for years to come.