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Barbican Centre, York facts for kids

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Barbican Centre
York, Barbican Centre - - 495341.jpg
Location York, England
Coordinates 53°57′12.42″N 1°4′27.27″W / 53.9534500°N 1.0742417°W / 53.9534500; -1.0742417Coordinates: 53°57′12.42″N 1°4′27.27″W / 53.9534500°N 1.0742417°W / 53.9534500; -1.0742417
Owner City of York Council
Operator SMG Europe
Capacity 1,900 standing; 1,500 seated
Opened 1989
Renovated 2011

The Barbican Centre is an indoor entertainment venue located in York, England. Named after the nearby barbican attached to Walmgate Bar, the centre hosts various music events, family shows and community events throughout the year and is also a venue for conferences. It has a 1,500 seating capacity and a 1,900 standing capacity.

The Barbican Centre has also been a regular snooker venue for the second biggest-ranking tournament, the UK Championship, with the championships returning to the venue in 2011.

The centre is located on the southern end of York city centre, opposite the city walls.


The current facility was built in 1989 at a price of £15 million by York Council, adding to a swimming pool, which had been previously constructed on the site in 1980. The 1989 construction added a sports hall and auditorium, with a climbing wall facility, café and bars. Despite offering the largest concert facility and a wide range of classes and local events (such as the annual York Interschool Battle of the Bands), the Barbican consistently made losses while it was operated by the council, and in 2000, both the swimming pool and new facilities were placed on the market in a bid to pass them on to private management.

By 2003, a single bidder had emerged as the preferred company to develop the site. Proposals to build new swimming facilities were part of the plans. However, a local group of residents, 'Save Our Barbican' (S.O.B.) spearheaded local opposition to the proposals circulated in the public consultation. Later planned developments suggested apartments on the site, or a casino and nightclub facility. By the end of 2004, with no plans accepted and a legal case going forward by the resident group, the Barbican centre was closed and lay empty for years to come. The swimming pool building was demolished, and the 1989 building began to show signs of weathering and vandalism.

In spring 2011, it finally reopened after a £1.5 million refurbishment, owned by the council but managed by SMG (UK), an international venue operator.

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