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The Regent Theatre was built in 1885 at the cost of £14,000. Designed by architect Frank Matcham it had a capacity of 1,700.
Built as a theatre and sometimes known as the Regent Opera House, the first record of films being shown at what is now known as the Palace was in 1901.
In 1910 Bioscope was introduced and films started to take precedent over theatrical performance.
In 1919, the theatre changed ownership and name to the Palace Theatre with £20,000 being spent on renovations, £6,000 more than it had cost to build originally.
The Palace became two cinemas in 1929 – the Salford Palace Theatre and the new Palace Cinema which was adjacent to it. The Salford Palace Theatre was the first cinema in Salford to present ‘talkies’ with the adjoining Palace Cinema following suit a month later. By 1937, both buildings were operated by the H.D. Moorhouse Circuit.
In 1941 the Palace Cinema caught fire, destroying the auditorium of the Palace Cinema and never re-opened. The Palace Theatre however continued to show films, however, after the war, the theatre reverted to live entertainment and films were only shown on Sundays. The success of the live theatre only lasted for a couple of years and by 1951 the Palace Theatre reverted to films.
In 1952, disaster struck and the theatre was gutted by fire and the auditorium was completely destroyed.
In the eleven years between that and the theatre’s final curtain, there had been many rumours that the theatre would be re-built, but in 1963, the council purchased the building and flattened it.
A sad end to a fine building, Cross Lane had at its height two theatres (the Regent and the Windsor) and three cinemas, (The Alexandra, the Carlton and the Palace), once dubbed SalfordÌs ÏGreat White WayÓ. Nothing now remains.
Today where the Regent Theatre once stood is a massive roundabout and the entrance slip roads to the M602 motorway.
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