Palace Theatre

Old Vicarage Lane,
Preston, PR1

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Located on the corner of Bishopsgate, Old Vicarage Lane and Tithebarn Street in Preston town centre. Originally a skating rink had been erected on this site. In 1912, the Kings Palace Theatre was built for Percy B. Broadhead’s chain of musical halls. It opened on 6th February 1913, with a seating capacity for 2,559. Designed in a Louis XIV French Renaissance style, the decorator was said to be the same as for the magnificent Stoll Theatre, London. That theatre was designed by noted theatre architect Bertie Crewe, but it is not known if he had any involvement in the Kings Palace Theatre. The Kings Palace Theatre was designed by architectural firm Bush, Hope & Tasker. There were three domes in the auditorium ceiling containing paintings, and the proscenium arch was supported by colonnades of rouge-et-noir marble, with painted panels above.

Unlike other music hall theatres being built at the time, the Kings Palace Theatre was initially not equipped with a Bioscope projection box. By 1917, the Kings Palace of Music and Pictures was screening films, with two programme changes a week.

The Kings Theatre closed as a cinema on 31st October 1955 and was converted into a roller skating rink. This was a short lived venture, and after it closed, the building stood empty and unused for eight years. There was talk about converting the magnificent theatre into a live theatre for the town, but developers had purchased the site, and it was demolished to make way for the present bus station and shopping area.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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