The Corn Exchange is a venue for music, comedy and entertainment but, as its name suggests, it was not always that way. The building began its life in 1875 as a corn exchange, where cereal grains could be traded. It was designed by local architect Richard Reynolds Rowe after he won the right to do so in a competition. The building was also to be used for entertainment events.
In the 1940s the building was used as a site for women to clean and repair hundreds of rifles. Then, in the 1950s, it became popular for public events such as wrestling matches and roller-skating. It stopped being used as a corn exchange in 1965 and it was not until the 1970s that it began being used for what it is today – concerts and other events.
In 1981 the building was shut down and was not opened again until 1986 after restoration work had taken place. It is now a Grade II listed building and is run by the Cambridge City Council. It seats up to 1,849 people and the top balcony is built on stilts in order to avoid damage to the main building structure.
Famous faces that have appeared over the years include Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett, Take That, Oasis, David Bowie and many more.
West End shows, popular comedians and other live tours are among the events that now take place at The Corn Exchange. It also hosts classical concerts. The line up for 2011 includes The Buddy Holly Story musical, the Magic of Motown and Jools Holland.