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The Palace Theatre, Blackpool

Formerly - The Alhambra Theatre

Part of the Palace Complex

Blackpool Theatres Index - Blackpool Theatres Article by Donald Auty

An early postcard showing the Palace Complex, Blackpool, with Harry Lauder on the Bill at the Palace Theatre

Above - An early postcard showing the Palace Complex, Blackpool, with Harry Lauder on the Bill at the Palace Theatre

 

A programme for 'The Frankie Vaughan Show' at the Palace Theatre, Blackpool in 1961 - Courtesy Roy Cross.The Palace Theatre was situated within Blackpool's huge and lavish seafront Palace Complex (shown above) which was next door to the Tower Complex. The Theatre was a redesign of the former Alhambra Theatre by the renowned Theatre Architect Frank Matcham in 1903.

The Alhambra Theatre itself had been designed by Wylson & Long and had originally opened in 1899, as part of the former Alhambra Complex which had run into financial difficulties soon after opening and was sold to the Blackpool Tower Company in July 1903. The Tower Company then set about restructuring the building and they reopened the newly redesigned Matcham Theatre as the Palace Theatre in July 1904.

Right - A programme for 'The Frankie Vaughan Show' at the Palace Theatre, Blackpool in 1961 - Courtesy Roy Cross. On the Bill with Frankie Vaughan were The Billy Ternent Orchestra, The Bell-Tones, Ted Lune, The Kims, Arthur Worsley, Neil & Pat Delrina, Maxine Coats, and Hetty King. And all of this for just three pence!

The price structuring at the Palace Complex meant that eventually one could pay for a ticket for the Palace Theatre, or the later addition to the building, the 1911 Palace Picture Theatre, and then go to the Palace Ballroom afterwards with the same ticket, making for a very special and reasonably priced evening's entertainment all in the same fabulous building.

 

Frank Matcham's wonderful Palace Theatre, Blackpool - From a 1938 programme for the Winter Gardens Complex

Above - Frank Matcham's wonderful Palace Theatre, Blackpool - From a 1938 programme for the Winter Gardens Complex - Caption reads: -'THE PALACE VARIETY THEATRE as seen by Fortunino Matania, R.I. The Palace is one of the most resplendent theatres in the country, and vies with Metropolitan variety theatres for its profusion of stars of the vaudeville stage. The theatre is open all the year round, and performances are given twice nightly. Its acoustic properties are also perfect for films, which are shown on Sunday evenings and occasional matinees.

 

A programme produced the month after the end of the Second World War in June, 1945 - Courtesy Pam Prior - Click to see the whole programme. The Palace Theatre presented top twice nightly variety shows 52 weeks a year and was very popular with the locals.

Right - A programme produced the month after the end of the Second World War in June, 1945 - Courtesy Pam Prior - Click to see the whole programme.

A Souvenir Programme for the Blackpool Palace Theatre, March 13th 1950.The Palace Theatre programme shown left is for the reopening of the Theatre on Monday March the 13th 1950 but is incomplete and so far I haven't been able to discover if the Theatre had just been closed for the winter and was reopening for the summer season, or had been closed for alterations, perhaps you know.

Left - A Souvenir Programme for the Blackpool Palace Theatre, March 13th 1950.

The reopening variety show at the Palace Theatre in March 1950 included acts such as the Zio Trio, dancers; Clifford Henry, comedian; Reino and Assistant, wire walkers; George Bolton with Freda Gardner, 'the modern gangster'; Boris, 'the world's greatest pickpocket'; the Three Aberdonians; Lee Lawrence, from the BBC series 'Starlight Hour'; and Jackie and Partner, 'sensational equilibrists'. The programme also mentions 'Old Time Dancing each Thursday' at the Theatre, and ballroom dancing nightly in the Palace Ballroom. In the Picture Theatre that week 'The Romantic Age' and 'The Story of Molly "X"' were showing. And the Grand Theatre was showing 'The Late Edwina Black', whilst the New Opera House had a production from the Carl Rosa Opera. From Monday March the 20th 1950 the programme states that Don Ross's Circus would be showing at the Palace Theatre with their lions, bears, dogs, monkeys, and Liberty Ponies, amongst other acts.

 

A Google Streetview image of the site of the Palace Complex today - Click to Interact. Sadly the Palace Theatre, and the whole Palace Complex, was the first of Blackpool's major theatrical venues to be lost, and it was completely demolished in 1958 to make way for a new John Lewis's store, later to become a Woolworth's.

Right - A Google Streetview image of the site of the Palace Complex today - Click to Interact.

You may also be interested in reading Donald Auty's Blackpool Theatres Article on this site which has more personal information about working Blackpool's Theatres in the 1950s.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.