33 New Street,
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The Alhambra Theatre stood in Doncaster Road at the corner with New Street, on the eastern approach to Barnsley town centre. Designed by architect Percy Archibald Hinchcliffe, the Alhambra Theatre was Barnsley’s third live theatre and opened with a concert on 1st October 1915 by Countess Fitzwilliam, from the Fitzwilliam Estate at Wentworth Woodhouse close to Barnsley.
A large theatre, the seating was for 2,362 in stalls and three balconies but this was reduced to 2,100 in 1939 with the closure of the top balcony – 826 in the stalls, 325 in the first circle and 449 in the upper circle.
A brick building with stone facade and columns with windows between each column. A large curved pediment over a central plaque was placed above the columns with two round windows on either side of this and the name ‘Alhambra’ carved in stone along the top of the building. As the Alhambra Theatre was built originally as a variety house, the stage was somewhat shallow at only 20 feet deep. The owners were the Alhambra Theatre (Barnsley) Ltd.
It remained a live theatre for just under ten years and closed as such on 6th June 1925 and converted to cinema use opening with the film “Koenigsmark”. In 1930 Federated Estates of Regent Street, London took over the cinema and installed Western Electric sound. On 5th June 1938 the Alhambra Theatre was taken over by the Oscar Deutsch owned chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd., but by an agreement in the sale was never renamed the Odeon, keeping its Alhambra name. It later advertised as ‘An Odeon Theatre’ in press adverts. The Rank Organisation closed the Alhambra Theatre on 26th November 1960 with the film “The Entertainer” starring Laurence Olivier supported by “A Hill in Korea”. It stood empty for two years and was then re-opened as a Top Rank Bingo Club.
An independent bingo company took over at a later date when it was known as the Vale Bingo Club. The Alhambra Theatre finally closed in 1979 and plans were put forward to re-open the building as a repertory theatre but this scheme failed and the Alhambra Theatre was finally demolished in 1982. However, the Alhambra name was to live on as in the late-1980’s a shopping centre was erected on the theatre’s site and is known as the Alhambra Centre.
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