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The end of the begining!, well they have saved Roland Satchwells magnificient Art Deco frontage of 1936 and the 1905 theatre walls. Paid a visit tho loook at the work in progress yesterday, and was allowed A VERY BRIEF TOUR ! Unfortunately Satchwells fine auditorium ceiling has gone forever, along side the plasterwork from the gallery and circle fronts, which was exacly the same wave pattern as seen in Satchwells Birmingham Alex interior of 1935 (the place was really just a scaled down copy). Very sad to the safety curtain still stuck up on its mounts as it has been for the past 50 years awaiting specialist removal. Interesting parts of the 1905 origional have been uncovered during the strip out, for example the marks on the wall at either side of the pros, which appear to be the site of the pre fire boxes, and scorch marked stone on the frontage, uncovered as the workers have started to strip, repair and restore the faince tiles on the frontage which ill remain along with the theatres outer walls, as part of the new building. It is very sad, and the end of a long battle, and as i was allowed to stand at circle level and look out through the vomitory, which is the only part of the circle which was still up yesterday, part of me said, this should never have been allowed to happen. But unlike many Deco Theatres lost in the past, withe retained frontage, which is to be fully restored, The Palace will live on, and hopefully with its good ghosts as well!
Amendment, apparently Warrington B council, can do nothing as it’s not listed.
the owners LPC have submitted a demolition order starting on 11 th august 2014, they say they can do nothing as the building is amazingly not listed. There has been some lukewarm puffing and blowing in Warrington over the past couple of days, but it looks like too little to late, and it looks like another of Union Cinemas Ritz’s is about to bite the dust. This is a stunning ‘detached’ Art Deco structure, I’m amazed it’s never got as much as a local listing, can anyone help?
And in the Huddersfield palace theatre in 1936
I have a feeling that the pros we see in these pictures- may be a ‘box in’ around the origional, the curtain tab along the top of it seems to hang too far forward- i maybe wrong !! it just looks very ‘wooden’ maybe its the cheap gold paint that emphasises it? Mike you are right the plasterwork on circle front and balcony is identical to The Alexandra in Birmingham. As things are at the moment the unusal ‘side walkways’ of each side of the d. circle have been extended forward. the circle itself is boarded off with a false wall right up to the aud ceiling
Mike, I recon you might be on to something here- have u an email or facebook address- really like to 1 to 1 with you- interesting that the palace burned down during the panto season in jan/feb 36. reopened easter 37. I have checked the design on the balcony at the alex , you are correct- Of course mcnagten vaudeville circuit who owned the palace would have had contacts all over the uk.
The Odeon is the favoured location for Chesters new theatre and Arts Centre- the building has now been purchased by Chester city Council
I am sure you are right, I suspect ‘coloured glass'I remember in th 1970’s when the building was illuminated at night from the inside- as the bingo club- in the colours of the rainbow it was stunning!. Its a shame it will be lost, probably with the insertion of the new floors. Its a shame the auditorium ceiling cant be saved
Im sure you are right Mike about ‘bars’ issue. Mrs Ball tells me that she has seen the plans lodged at Huddersfield Central Library. The Palace and the Birmingham Alex appear to be the only actual ‘Theatre’s’ Roland Satchwell designed, the rest appear to be Cinemas.I suspect that certainly in the case of The Palace, he was commisioned to design it for easy conversion to a'super cinema' should a reopening with ‘variety’ fail. Interestingly Union Cinemas built the Ritz/ABC the following year and come world war 2 ‘variety’ revived itself which gave The Palace another 20 years as a live theatre. Also by 1947. Huddersfield had over 20 cinemas both in the town centre and provinces- quite a lot really. Perhaps as it turned out two massive cinemas were not required within the town centre. On the plans submitted for demolition by Halco. the Palace was also refered to as the Savoy Cinema. As far as im aware the Palace was open sporadically between 1954 and 1959 as a theatre and was converted to ‘The Continental Theatre ballroom in 1958/9. But I may be wrong of course!
The interior of the Palace was by no means as elaborate as for example some of the 'Odeons’ built at the same time for example in Peterborough and Chester or the Plaza in Stockport This may well explain the failure of the listing application. The massive exception to me is the frontage which seems to be highly characteristic of Satchwells cinema designs with the tall stained glass windows. Under the present student apartment plans this is to be retained and restored. What is not to be retained is the fabulous art deco auditorim ceiling- infact its about the only bit of deco left. Hudds. Civic Society are objecting to the plans on a design matter- |I dont know if its on this issue. Mrs Ball tells me she has been in touch with Roland Satchwells grandson and he has all the origional plans. It might be worth contacting him to see if he has any of Rolands other sets of plans for the cinemas in the Midlands.
Following the failure of the listing appeal. This maybe the best that can be hoped for. I like the full restoration of the frontage, but this is basically a ‘gutting down to three exteral walls’ and the total demolition of the existing interior including the stage. This will mean the loss of of the amazing Art Deco ceiling which is unfortunately about the only origional Roland Satchwell 1936 design feature left. Huddersfield Civic Society do not seem concerned about the interior features. Interesting that the Chester Odeon is listed ‘inside and Outside’.
As we have said the 1936 interior was more or less totally intact until the Chicago Rock Cafe conversion iwrin
The Ritz has just been sold for 1 million pounds to an as yet unknown buyer. The Warrington Guardian reported that WB Council put in a bid for 500,000 which was the ‘guide’ price!, in order to safeguard the building for proposed canalside devlopment- conversion to a theatre?– they have certainly been going on about it in this town for long enough
This is a continuation- will only let me submit short comments!. In 1997 during the Chicago rock cafe conversion I was horrified with what they had done to the building- with all the air vent pipes broken through the circle and gallery, and the removal of the beautiful deco brass railed staircase which ran from the foyer to the circle lounge. The side galleries they installed- still intact also ruined the theatres proportions. I think the people who have commented on ‘this page ’ over the last few years have done most of the historical research so far- comments on other websites seem to be ‘lifted’ from our stuff on here. Hope to speak to you soon. for it
E.B. great and amazing news that people are finally getting together and saving this gem. Would like to help in any way possible- amazing that you managed to get hold of the plans?– I have scoured the internet for pictures of the interiors to no avail- I have had to rely on the memories of my parents/ friends to see if they can remember where things like the bars were situated. My former name was pueblo. I first went into the theatre in about 1986, when the bingo was going, as I remember it totally intact, apart from the bingo tables installed over the dance floor in 1959. Can you get in Touch (
Despite the rumblings in The Huddersfield Examiner last summer about demolition notices and attempts by Huddersfield Civic Society to get the palace listed (I can find no references on English Heritages website)– Check out the current commercial sales catalogue for Eddisons Ltd (Huddersfield). As we speak the building is up for sale- as “The Palace Theatre” 30. Kirkgate, together with the Kirgate Public House next door. Perhaps Halco has put them back on the market and phase 2 of the Kingsgate Scheme has been abandoned?
Upon completion of the restoration Casino Red went into administration after spending 1000’s on the place it traded for only four weeks- be interested to see whats happening now
The developers as above appealed against the planning rejection and it has been passed!, in December 2008, If one views the revised plans they include the retention of Roland Satchwell’s Art Deco frontage. Anyway it looks like a final farewell to yet another of our Art Deco gems, including the great auditorium ceiling. The appeal document makes interesting reading and can now be found on the site of the planning application- link as above. The planners seem to think that The Palace was once known as ‘The Savoy Cinema’? correct me if im wrong, but the only cinema of this name was The Savoy at Marsh which later became a Lodges Supermarket. Where do these people get their information? all they have to do is ask us!. They also apparently have ‘drawings and pictures’ of the theatre, presumably the ones copied from Huddersfield Library which I posted on my google web page nearly 2 years ago.