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Time capsule marks start of Festival Hall refurb

A time capsule has been buried in the walls of the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank to signal the start of a £91 million revamp.

17-year-old violinist Nicola Benedetti carried out Thursday's ceremony at the concert hall and arts venue, which is closing for 18 months to allow a major refurbishment to take place.

The contents of the time capsule was influenced by a previous time capsule buried in the RFH's wall in 1949 during the building's construction.

The 2005 version contained an Apple iPod containing recordings by the London Philharmonic, and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Also in the capsule was the score of Mozart's Nine Variations on a minuet by Duport, signed by Alfred Brendel and performed by him at the last classical concert to be held in the hall.

As in 1949, a new set of mint coins and a copy of The Times were also included.

The refurbishment includes a major acoustics upgrade, a new education centre, improved public spaces as well as landscaping.

A range of new shops and restaurants open this month in the space between the hall and the riverside walkway, including a Foyles bookshop.

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