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The site was a popular location for events throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The first Motor Show of many was held in 1898, the venue hosted the London Symphony Orchestra in 1925 and one thousand people were welcomed to a Tea For a Thousand in 1935. During the 1940s the venue was used to clean and repair rifles by local women. After the war, the venue was popular for boxing, wrestling and roller skating. The floor was usually marked out for badminton matches which were held in the building.[2] A temporary wooden bridge across Wheeler Street was even constructed in the 1950s to join it to the neighbouring Guildhall for balls and other events.
In 1965, the venue ceased being used for trading after the Cattle Market site was opened as an alternative. In the 1970s the building was used for pop concerts and one-day exhibitions. In 1972 Syd Barrett made his last public appearance at the venue supporting MC5. In 1974 1,000 fans caused a riot after The Drifters failed to appear onstage.
The venue was closed in 1981 after the roof was found to be unsafe and following complaints from local residents about noise levels. The building was refitted following public pressure and various grants and donations, with the first concert taking place on 3 December 1986 starring Box Car Willie, though an official reopening occurred the following February with a performance by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
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