Hull Continental Palace Theatre
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Located on Anlaby Road to the west of the Hull Brewery Malt Kiln No. 4 at Pease Street. It was also adjacent to Hengler’s Grand Cirque Variete, designed by architect J.T. Robinson in 1864. The Palace Theatre of Varieties was designed as a variety theatre for the Moss Empire’s Theatres chain. It was designed by noted theatre architect Frank Matcham. It would have normally have been named Empire Theatre, but there already was an Empire Theatre operating on Grimsdon Street in the city centre.
The Palace Theatre of Varieties was opened on 6th December 1897 with Gus Elen topping the bill. Seating was provided for 1,800 in orchestra stalls, pit stalls, dress circle, balcony and gallery levels. There were six boxes at dress circle level. The auditorium was decorated in an East Indian style, carried out by Binns of Halifax. The proscenium was 30 feet wide, and the stage was 30 feet deep. Also contained in the building was a winter garden, complete with a fountain. The Palace Theatre of Varieties was soon equipped to screen films as part of the variety programme.
In 1928, the theatre was enlarged, and attracted top acts who toured the Moss Empires circuit, including George Formby & Jack Hilton & His Band. It was still equipped for film use in the 1930’s, although it is not known how often this facility was used.
In 1940, the Palace Theatre was badly damaged by German bombs, and remained closed for 10 years. It was repaired and re-opened in 1951, and was under new ownership. In 1957, the seating in the orchestra stalls area was removed and was replaced by tables & chairs. It was re-named Hull Continental Palace Theatre from Easter 1958, and began a new lease of life as a ‘Talk of the Town’ style theatre, presenting cabaret style revues, which included Olde Tyme Music Hall. This continued until it was closed in July 1965. The theatre was demolished in 1966, and the site lay vacant for over 20 years until a new development of high rise flats and their grounds was built on the site.
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