Floral Hall Picture Theatre

22 Belgrave Gate,
Leicester, LE1 3GP

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Located in Leicester city centre. The original Floral Hall was built in 1876 as the Floral Hall Skating Rink. It had its main entrance on Mansfield Street. It actually opened with a concert, which was followed the next week by a Grand Cirque & Hippodrome, and after some use as a live theatre, known as the New Theatre of Varieties, and then an indoor market, it finally became a skating rink in 1879. It was demolished in 1900, and the Leicester Palace Theatre was built on part of the site by Oswald Stoll.

The Floral Hall Picture Theatre was built by Oswald Stoll and opened on 26th December 1910. The narrow entrance (adjacent to the Leicester Palace Theatre built in 1901) on Belgrave Gate had a Moorish style facade to match the Leicester Palace Theatre. It had a long narrow passage which led to the auditorium, which was built at the rear of the Leicester Palace Theatre on Mansfield Street. The auditorium had a capacity for 700, all on a single level.

In 1913, a balcony was added, increasing the seating capacity to 900. A Nicholson & Ward organ was installed, which was made by the organ builders based in Walsall. It was opened by organist Arthur Rawson. After Stoll died in 1942, the Stoll Circuit was managed by Prince Littler.

The Floral Hall Picture Theatre was closed in the early-1960’s. It became a warehouse for the show manufacturer Stead & Simpson, who had their factory & head office almost next door in Belgrave Gate.

The Floral Hall Picture Theatre followed the Leicester Palace Theatre (demolished early-1960’s) was demolished in the late-1960’s, and a parade of shops was built on the combined site.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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