The Crescent building begins life. At the cost of £7,000, Margaret Byers, an advocate and pioneer for women's’ education opens the Ladies’ Collegiate School. It was one of the first purpose-built schools in the country for girls.
During Queen Victoria's jubilee year, the queen issued a royal command that the school be renames to Victoria College as recognition of the outstanding achievements of Mrs Byers and her staff.
The college grew a prospered, but as time went by the constraints of the gradually aging building led to the eventual relocation of Victoria College to it’s present-day home at Cranmore Park.At this time, the building’s future was in some doubt, as plans for a ring road through the area threatened it with destruction.
After some years of disuse, in 1976 the building reopened its doors as the Crescent Youth & Resource Centre, co-ordination by Roger Courtney.
Martin Donnelly took over a the coordinator of the Crescent Youth & Resource Centre and The Crescent also became home to the community arts organisation NOW (Neighbourhood Open Workshops). A non-profit cooperative vegetarian restaurant, Zero opened and was integral to the Crescent throughout the 80s. Kinda McKeown from Zero organised a very popular weekly disco - which still brings back fond memories to many who used to visit.
Due to the lack of Arts provision in the area, the centre gradually moved to a more arts-cased projects and became a fully fledged arts centre in 1984.
THe wholesale failure of the building’s electrics almost closed the Centre once more, and a converted ‘Save the Crescent’ campaign led by the then director Noreen O’Hare included a march the the CIty Hall to draw attention to the campaign. The Crescent was even debated and defended in the House of Lords.
The Crescent Arts Centre secured a mortgage to buy the building outright from the Department of the Environment. THe building was still in a fairly bad state from its earlier unoccupied years and funding for a large scale refurbishment was badly needed.
The Crescent reopens following an 18-month restoration project and now flourishes as a vibrant Arts Centre, offering unique spaces for artists, craftworkers and creative arts businesses.