Garrick Theatre

Widemarsh Street,
Hereford, HR4

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Built in 1882 as the Forresters Hall, by 1899 it had become the Theatre Royal. It was re-named Garrick Theatre in 1909 and had a seating capacity for 600. In 1916 the theatre was part destroyed in a fire during a Charity Concert for the Troops, which claimed the lives of several children.

It was rebuilt and re-opened with a seating capacity for 400. Offering variety shows with films as part of the programme, by 1929 it had become a full time cinema. The first ‘talkie’ to be screened was “Broadway Melody” starring Charles King on 11th November 1929. The Garrick Theatre had been equipped with a Western Electric(WE) sound system.

In 1932 it was taken over by the Union Cinemas circuit, and they refurbished the cinema. In October 1937 Union Cinemas were taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain. They built the Ritz Cinema and closed the Garrick Theatre on 9th January 1938 with Claudette Colbert in “I Met Him in Paris” and “Yesterdays Hero”.

The Garrick theatre never re-opened. During World War II it was used as the A.R.P. Headquarters and training film establishment. It was derequisitioned in 1946 and became a bookstore for the County Library, with closed in 1974. The building was demolished in 1978, despite controversy from some who wanted it re-opened as a theatre.

By 1990 a multi-story car park named Garrick House Car Park occupied the site, which remains in 2015.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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