Palace Cinema

Leeds Road,
Nelson, BB9 9TD

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Located on the corner of Leeds Road and New Scotland Road, Nelson, Lancashire. Opened as a variety theatre on 13th December 1909, the Palace Hippodrome Theatre had seating for 1,730 in stalls and two balconies. Designed by the architectural firm Matthew, Watson, Landless & Pearse of Burnley & Liverpool, Landless was the lead architect for the Palace Hippodrome Theatre working out of the company’s Bolton office. It had a 32 feet wide rectangular proscenium, a 25 feet deep stage and twelve dressing rooms.

It later became largely a cinema (Western Electric sound had been installed by 1934), though stage facilities were retained and used, and the name was shortened to Palace Cinema. Cinema use reduced the seating capacity to 1,460. Taken over by the Leeds based Star Cinemas chain in June 1960, and they converted it into a Star Bingo Club in 1963. The building retained the Edwardian plasterwork with an elaborate box at dress circle level either side of the stage. It later reverted back to cinema use, but eventually was taken over by another operator and bingo was re-introduced.

In the early-1980’s, in act of local authority vandalism, the facade and foyers were demolished for a road widening scheme, leaving the auditorium and stage with a new blank brick wall and a severe shortage of front-of-house space.

The condition of the building deteriorated over the years and on 26th July 2009, the Palace Bingo Club closed, the site having been bought by the local council with the intention of demolishing the former theatre to provide a few car parking spaces. Urgent attempts to save the building were being made, by getting English Heritage involved, to give the building a Grade II Listed status. Sadly, it was not to be, and the building was demolished in October 2010.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Ian
Ian on April 22, 2010 at 9:59 pm

In recent years the exterior, at least, has had some serious maintenance work and the stone and brickwork, together with the roof, seem in excellent condition. The demolition contractors appear to be moving equipment onto the site in April 2010. Some pictures here:–

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/4545392838/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/4545392712/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/4544759437/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/4545392368/

Ian
Ian on November 12, 2010 at 6:52 am

The Palace was reported as being demolished in October 2010.

harryrig
harryrig on April 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Have adjusted the StreetView but the map is wrong. It points to the former Regent which – like the Palace – has now been demolished. Google got there first!

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