Embassy Theatre

140 Borough Road,
Wallasey, CH44 6NH

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Embassy Theatre

The Irving Theatre opened on 18th December 1899 and at first was live theatre only. It was renamed Kings Theatre in 1904 and from that point films were included in the variety bills. Later called La Scala Theatre, then Hippodrome Theatre, the theatre alternated between seasons of films or live use until 1936 when another name Embassy Theatre, heralded a change to film use only.

Two years later the ornate interior, complete with boxes and Victorian plasterwork was swept away when the interior was transformed into an Art-Deco style modern cinema, although, for some reason the stage was retained.

Cinemascope was installed in June 1955, but the final film, “Sea of Sand” was screened in 1959. Bingo usage followed, with (for a time) a separate nightclub in the former balcony. The latter has now closed, but bingo contines in the stalls and stage area of the former theatre.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Philip Picturedrome
Philip Picturedrome on August 2, 2010 at 8:51 am

Named after Sir Henry Irving who laid the foundation stone on 11 October 1899, and who stipulated that his name could only be used if serious theatre was presented.
It was opened on 18 December 1899, and was one of James Kiernan’s theatres.
This was said to be the first Irving Theatre in the country and one wonders why Sir Henry allowed Liverpool-born James Kiernan this unique privilege, because Mr Kiernan had about half-a-dozen music halls but no legitimate theatres.
The architect may have been J H Havelock-Sutton, who is known to have worked for Mr Kiernan.
Sir Henry’s bust was in the circular frame on the facade.
After a fire in 1908 it reopened as the King’s Theatre (a music hall), never to be called the Irving again.
Films were first shown in 1904, and it became a full-time cinema – La Scala – in 1912.
A couple of years later it became a music hall called the Hippodrome.
Cine variety from 1936, when it was first called the Embassy.
In 1938 the interior was reconstructed as a cinema which closed in 1959 in favour of bingo, which continues to date.

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