Palace Court, Victoria Street North,
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Located on the corner of Victoria Street North and Corporation Road. The Palace Theatre was built on the site of an earlier Theatre Royal. It opened on 10th December 1904 as a theatre & music hall, and operated by the MacNaghten Vaudeville Circuit for the first six months. It then went over to the management of T.Allan Edwardes of Derby, who operated the tin built Hippodrome Theatre in the town. The intitial seating capacity was for 1,500. It was closed in 1908 for a refurbishment, and re-opened in late-1908 with an increased seating capacity of 2,000. Part of the programme was Aubrey’s Animated Pictures. The proscenium was 34 feet wide, the stage 21 feet deep and there were ten dressing rooms.
It continued for many years as a variety theatre, with occasional film use, until 1931, when it was refurbished and re-opened in August 1931 as a cinema, equipped for ‘talkies’. Projection was a rear projection system, with the projection box at the rear of the stage, now increased to 35 feet deep. The seating capacity as a cinema was 1,509. The Palace Theatre was closed as a cinema in around August 1943, and was taken over by F.J. Butterworth Theatres and re-opened as a variety theatre after the town’s Tivoli Theatre was bombed.
During the 1950’s, theatres were struggling against the new television craze, and the Palace Theatre, like so many resorted to staging nude shows to bring in the crowds, but this soon failed, and the Palace Theatre was closed in May 1955. It became a warehouse, and was eventually demolished in 1979. At that time, part of the decorative tiles in the foyer still remained on an adjoining wall. In 2010, a new building on the site of the foyer named Palace Court now houses Bathstore.com, while the site of the auditorium is an open space, used as a car park. The original Palace Buffet on the corner survived, and is now a Carphone Warehouse store and a Domino’s Pizza.
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