The Queen's Theatre, Leeds was built for Dottridge and Longden in 1898, and designed by Hope and Maxwell. The Theatre had an auditorium capable of accommodating 3,500, and opened on the 24th of December 1898 with a production of the pantomime 'Dick Whittington'.
The Building News and Engineering Journal reported on the construction of the Theatre in their February 4th 1898 edition saying:- 'This new theatre at Leeds is being erected for Messrs. Morell and Mouillot and Messrs. Dotridge and Longden. The builder is Mr. S. F. Davidson, of Newcastle-on-Tyne. The building now in course of erection is situate at the corner of Meadow-road and Jack-lane, and will be faced with red bricks and stone dressings.
The accompanying plan (shown right) shows the arrangement of the building. The dimensions are as follows:- From curtain to back wall of pit, 72ft. ; width of auditorium, 78ft.; stage, from curtain to back wall of stage, 41ft.; four exits are provided from the pit; three from the gallery, and two from the dress circle.
Right - A Plan of the Queen's Theatre, Leeds - From the Building News and Engineering Journal, February 4th 1898.
The plan has been arranged so that one pay-office serves for the whole of the house, and the theatre will hold about 4,000. The contrivance of the frontage, so as to provide for shops, is very ingeniously managed. Messrs. W. Hope and J. C. Maxwell, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, are the architects.'
The above text in quotes was first published in the Building News and Engineering Journal, February 4th 1898.
The Building News and Engineering Journal also reported on the Theatre, when it was nearing completion, in their November 18th 1898 edition saying:- 'A suburban theatre to be known as the Queen's is approaching completion, and will be opened on Christmas Eve. The situation - at the corner of Jack-lane and Meadow-road - has an area of nearly 1,000 square yards, with streets on practically all sides.
A good part of the seating accommodation is provided for more than 3,500 persons. The pit and gallery are planned to accommodate rather more than two-thirds of the entire audience. Ornate fittings are promised, along with heating appliances, fire-proof floors and staircases, electric light (the wires for supplying which have been already laid), also refreshment rooms.
The dimensions of the stage are 60 ft. by 45ft., the proscenium by 32ft. across, and on one side 16 dressing-rooms are placed. Direct exits from the theatre are arranged from each of the three floors of the house. Mr. S. F. Davidson, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, is the contractor.'
The above text in quotes was first published in the Building News and Engineering Journal, November 18th 1898.
The Theatre was home to many different productions over the years including pantomime, variety, and plays, and it is said that Gracie Fields made her first appearance in Leeds in the 1940s, during the war, in 'Mr. Tower of London' at the Queen's Theatre.
The Theatre closed after the last Variety show, appropriately entitled 'The Last Week', on the 17th of July 1924 and was then converted for Cinema use, opening at the end of the year on the 1st of December. Although by now used primarily as a Cinema the occasional Cine-Variety show was still produced.
In 1937 the auditorium was radically altered when the former gallery and boxes were removed, and the former circle was turned into a waiting area.
The Queen's Theatre finally closed for good in 1957 and then stood empty for over a decade until it was demolished in 1968.
Some of the above information was gleaned from an old
version of the website of the Leeds
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