Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Vanished Leicester: Palace Theatre, Belgrave Gate

Here it is being demolished in 1959.

A website devoted to music hall and theatre history - www.arthurlloyd.co.uk - describes the theatre in happier days:
The Palace Theatre of Varieties as it was named in 1901 was built on the site of the former Floral Hall in Belgrave Gate, Leicester, for Oswald Stoll and was designed by the renowned Theatre architect Frank Matcham in an elaborate Moresque style. 
The Theatre opened on Monday 17th June 1901 being a three tier Theatre consisting of the Fauteils, stalls and pit on the ground floor, above which were the Grand circle, Upper circle and Gallery. There were three stage boxes each side of the proscenium arch, one at stalls level and two in the dress circle, plus 7 rear circle boxes. The opening capacity was 3,500 people, it being, in 1901, the largest Theatre outside London ... 
In the centre of the stage was a large wrought iron animal cage which could be raised and lowered from underneath the stage by hydraulics for wild animal shows. 
A remarkable feature of the Theatre however, was the crush room (waiting area) being a semi circular area with a glass and iron domed roof being a Winter Garden with rockeries, fountains and dripping wells, all overlooked by a rustic smoking balcony. The rockeries representing Derbyshire and Peak district rock formations designed by Clapham and West of Didsbury.

1 comment:

Gawain said...

The contrast of Matcham's building and the identikit rubbish that replaced it is heartbreaking. A pity there is no photograph of the Crush: it sounds wonderful. I like the idea of a 'rustic smoking balcony' very much