Solicitor succeeds where Dissolution failed

My recent story Not quite so loudly please Maestro Ashkenazy about the attempt to limit sound levels in a historic concert venue which has hosted premieres of music by Benjamin Britten and many others prompted expressions of concern from many readers. Today brings the following deeply disturbing news from the Eastern Daily Press.

The owner of a bed and breakfast opposite St Andrew's Hall in Norwich has won an appeal to curb noise from music at the venue. Solicitor John Hardman and his wife Carol, who also live at the B&B on Prince's Street (above), won their battle at Norwich Magistrates' Court on Monday to get further restrictions on amplified music at the hall. The couple's success means a sound limiter will stay in place at the venue and a deadline of 10.30pm will be imposed on amplified music - an hour earlier than the curfew put in last year following complaints.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: "This is deeply disappointing and will threaten the use of the hall and have a far-reaching effect on the sorts of events we can have there," he said. "The halls [St Andrew's and neighbouring Blackfriars] have been a community and cultural venue for hundreds of years.It will threaten educational concerts where the sound of the orchestra trips the limiter. The council will now take advice as to what it does next." The Hardmans, who on their website (see below) promote the proximity of their B&B to the venue, insisted they were not trying to ruin the cultural vibrancy of the city.

* John Hardman's bed and breakfast website via this link. For readers wishing to enquire about accomodation for forthcoming noise-limited orchestral concerts and organ recitals at the nearby St Andrew's Hall his email address is The image above is from his website, and is appropriately titled St.Andrews Hall reflections.

* St Andrew's Hall dates from the 15th century when it was built as part of the church of a Dominican Friary. At the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530's the church was divided into two and the present hall was created, and has been in use as a civic building ever since. The first music festival in Norwich was held in 1788, and performances took place in St Andrew's Hall. Since then the Hall has been in use as a festival and music venue for more than 200 years without a break. See photo to left, and yes, that is an organ you see. The Hall has seen many historic premieres including Britten's Our Hunting Fathers, Opus 8 ( 25 September 1936, St Andrew's Hall, Norwich, Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Music Festival. Sophie Wyss sop, LPO, Benjamin Britten cond).

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Civic Center said…
The Hardmans (perfect name!) seem to be living illustrations of that old cliche, "cutting one's nose off to spite one's face."
Anonymous said…
There's an article on the consequences of this enforcement in the Eastern Evening News (23.06.06) at

So, presumably, the B&B won't be getting any business from the guests at those relocated wedding receptions, nor from any of the entourage of the National Jazz Youth Orchestra (though they'd need to be fairly well-heeled musicians to afford the prices) ...
Anonymous said…
The restriction seems to apply to "amplified music".

How then is an orchestra affected?

Or have things got even worse than I thought in the classical music world?
Pliable said…
It should be noted that, sadly, John Hardman died in November 2009.

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