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Original fit-out

DEMOLITION

MUCH of the building's material might be difficult to replace. Bronze, glassware panelling and ? particularly difficult to match ? a multitude of different timbers were used in the decor.

ISG InteriorExterior project director David Levy says: 'They used all sorts of wood in here for balustrades, panels and other fittings, some of which would now be illegal to source.

'There's mahogany, sycamore, Australian walnut, French elm, sapele and teak, among other things.' The wide range of timber used was a result of need as much as aesthetics. At the time of construction, post-war shipping had still not recovered its former capacity and rationing was still in force. The Festival Hall was one of the few major const ruct ion projects to be sanctioned at the time and almost the only one to escape some kind of budget cuts.

Mr Levy explains: 'They used to go down to the docks and inspect the incoming cargoes to see what was there, virtually making design decisions on the fly.'