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The Pavilion Theatre, Lodge Lane, Liverpool

Later - Mecca Bingo / Pivvy Bingo Club

History of the Theatre -Memories of the Pavilion - Recollections from the 40s and 50s - Staff Photos from the Mecca Bingo Days - The Theatre photographed in 2008 - Surviving Remnants of the Theatre in 2012

Liverpool Theatres Index

The Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time.

Above - The Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s, shown here whilst a boy scout parade was passing by - Courtesy Dave Fox - More photos from this collection here.

 

The Pavilion Theatre, in Lodge Lane, Liverpool was built in 1908 and designed by J. J. Alley who also designed several Theatres in Manchester, including the Metropole, the Royal Osborne, the Hulme Hippodrome and Playhouse, and the Queens Park Hippodrome along with several others in the Broadhead Circuit.

A photograph of the Lomas New Pavilion Dance Band in about 1925, venue unknown - Courtesy David Smith

Above - A photograph of the Lomas New Pavilion Dance Band in about 1925, venue unknown, but they may have been the band of the Pavilion Theatre in Lodge Lane - Courtesy David Smith whose mother is shown in the photograph as a young girl, and sitting on her left is her father, David's Grandfather. If you have any information on this Dance Band or can name anyone else in the photograph, or know where it was taken please Contact me.

The Auditorium of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Bingo days in 1980 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.The Pavilion Theatre was refurbished in 1933 and again in 1960 when the stage was extended. In 1961, like so many others at that time, the Theatre was converted for Bingo, although it was sometimes still used it as a Theatre with the staging of wrestling nights for instance, when they would set up a ring on the stage and do Bingo between bouts. The Theatre also played host to 'Legs of Miss Universe' contests, and according to Dave Fox, who was a Bingo caller there at the time, several musical groups were also booked to perform, including the Beatles, before anyone new of them. Dave says 'I think we paid them five pounds. I can't remember if that was each or for the whole group. In anything I have ever read about the Beatles they have never mentioned performing at the Pivvy, they usually say the Beatles made their first proper stage performance at the Empire Liverpool.'

Right - The Auditorium of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Bingo days in 1980 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.

The Pavilion was seriously damaged in 1986 when a major fire destroyed much of the interior of the building. The auditorium is now almost completely gone and in it's place is a hanger like bingo hall which is in stark contrast to the remains of the original Theatre it is attatched too. (See image bottom of page.) However, parts of the interior are still accessible.

Some of the information above was kindly sent in by Ellen Loudon and Dave Fox.

A visitor to the site, Carole Giffen, has recently sent in some of her memories of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre, Carole says: 'My family owned the "theatre house" at 13 Lorton St, set back up three steps between the Pro House Pub and the Pavilion Stage Door, Mecca owned it in the 1980's when my grandmother was rehoused. My great grandmother moved there after WW1 with her 2nd husband William Henry Borrows. My grandmother moved in after her marriage and they used to supply refreshments to the "Acts" as they called them. My grandfather helped out in the bar and sadly died there in 1945. When I was little, I used to be able to hear the acts rehearsing in their dressing rooms through the wall in the hallway (or lobby as we called it), I remember especially listening to Eddie Calvert!

The Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Bingo days in 1980 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.

Above - The Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Bingo days in 1980 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.

Detail of the Proscenium Arch at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Bingo days in 1980 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.The star dressing room was up some steps on the left and the larger dressing rooms for the chorus girls etc were at the end on the left. To the right were the stairs which took you to the auditorium and the boxes via the back way. All the scenery was stored underneath the stage and here were the rooms for the orchestra and the conductor who had his own room.

Left - Detail of the Proscenium Arch at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Bingo days in 1980 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.

I spent my early childhood (late 40's and early 50's) backstage and remember the layout and staff. The Stage Doorman was called Arthur, he was a small man with thick horn rimmed glasses and wore a grey overall and must have been in his 70's then. The dressing room cleaner was called Winnie and I used to help her. The Stage Manager was Chris McBride who was an old friend of the family and became my son's godfather. Chris McBride died in 1989. The Electrician was Freddie Trinder (brother of Tommy Trinder, the famous comedian) and there was a fireman called Reg or Fred who came from Manchester.

Front of House, the Manager was a Mr Lovelace and during the war, "Auntie Nell" ran the bar. She was an old retired "pro" with flaming red hair - a retired singer and dancer I think and it was her that my grandad used to help.

I also remember there being two autograph books in the house stuffed with photos and autographs of the acts including George Robey, Marie Lloyd and Little Titch - alas now missing. I saw Ken Dodd's first panto there when he was Wishy Washy in Aladdin and I was asked to go up on stage as part of the show. When he asked me where I lived I said next door!'

Above text in quotes kindly sent in by Carole Giffen.

 

Recollections of the Pavilion, Theatre, Lodge Lane, Liverpool in the 1940s and 50s by Stan Hall, the son of Arthur Ellison. Arthur Ellison was a flyman at the Theatre for many years - Interview recorded on the 2nd of January 2012.

The Backstage Crew and Call Boy standing outside the stage door of the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool, Arthur Ellison is 3rd from the left.

Above - The Backstage Crew and Call Boy standing outside the stage door of the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool, Arthur Ellison is 3rd from the left.

Arthur Ellison (right) with "Snacker" Davies (left) at the Pavilion Theatre, Lodge Lane, Liverpool.My Dad was working at The Pavilion during the war. I was only a little boy. I can remember climbing up this big steel ladder against the wall, and my father with his arms around me. I’d go up like that, and the fellow at the top would pull me out. I was only 7 when the war started, so I was certainly no older than 9. I wasn’t scared on the ladder, I suppose you have confidence in your father to protect you. My Dad used to take me up there and I could watch all the shows. It was mainly lots of variety acts.

It would be when I was about 12, during the war, that they gave me a job doing the numbers and things. The numbers were at the side of the stage showing the Acts and Scenes. They used to give me a couple of shillings to do it. They knew I’d do it properly, I was scared not to. You used to turn a long thing with a big cog on the top. It turned the numbers but it also used to time the acts. There was this paper and I would have to write down, say 10 minutes, because if they did a minute over they would be told off because the next act was waiting to come on. Even in those days the band used to get more money after a certain time, so they didn’t want to overrun. Most people knew the timings exactly. That was their act and they did the same act every week for years. They did it exactly the same all round the country. There was no ad-libbing or putting in. Sometimes you would get someone, like a singer, trying to do an encore, but they would be told off it they overran.

Right - Arthur Ellison (right) with "Snacker" Davies (left) at the Pavilion Theatre, Lodge Lane, Liverpool.

Sometimes, it must have been in the school holidays, I’d have to go in on a Monday morning because they’d have the Band Call and people would arrive. They’d have travelled on a Sunday – a terrible life that – and they’d do a run-through on a Monday morning. Even during the show the band would be playing and they’d throw the music on the floor as they finished with it. I’d have to go round afterwards collecting it up and putting it in order ready for the next show.

 

A Programme for 'Les Femmes Du Monde' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in September 1946 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.My father was in the flies, or he’d be moving scenery or whatever. Some of the scenery was quite extensive. He was up there one time playing cards, they used to play cards when there were long scenes on. There was a fellow called Dougie, I can see him now, sitting there with great big thick glasses. And they said “let number 5 in” which was just a thin, flimsy cloth. They just happened to look round as Dougie was undoing number 6. It was this massive thing with a big door and French windows which would have rocketed him up because the ropes went right up to the very top. It would have killed him and rocketed him to the top. They all rushed over and grabbed hold of the ropes. I only ever went up there once. You’d walk on a little cat walk right at the top, if anything was wrong.

Left - A Programme for 'Les Femmes Du Monde' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in September 1946 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

They had a tea chest in the flies, full of lead shot, like little ball bearings. When any curtains were being discarded, they would strip all the lead shot out in case they needed it – that was all kept up in the flies. As you went up and got off the steel ladder, there was this huge machine, with a great big wheel on it for taking the safety curtain up. It had a thing that if you let go of it, it would just lock. It would take at least 3 people to wind it because it was very heavy. Even in those days you had to bring the safety curtain down. You had to test it before the show started. It was quite big up there in the flies. When I was in the army there was a cleat and when I brought it down, I automatically did like a figure of 8 and looped back on it. I remember doing it automatically without even thinking of it because I’d been doing it for so long backstage.

 

A Programme for 'Les Femmes Du Monde' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in September 1946 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - A Programme for 'Les Femmes Du Monde' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in September 1946 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

 

A Programme for 'Take A Peep' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in October 1950 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.I can’t remember how often I was in the theatre, but probably as often as possible. My mother used to make my Dad take me because otherwise she was stuck with me. He was working all day and particularly at night, there wasn’t a great deal of responsibility. Saturday afternoon might be a matinee, so I’d have to go. I suppose if they’re all making a fuss of you, you enjoy it don’t you? Plus the whole smell of the crowd – roar of the greasepaint – an unmistakable smell, you know.

Right - A Programme for 'Take A Peep' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in October 1950 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

But it was awful really when you think about it, and bitterly cold. There was probably a radiator of some sort in the star dressing room. You had the star dressing room and then alongside that was a bigger dressing room for some of the other acts like dog acts – they couldn’t get them up all the stairs. The lower down the bill you were, the higher up the building. They used to say you were so low down on the bill you were “down with the wines and spirits” because at the very bottom of the bill it said “licensed to sell wines and spirits”. That was even after the printer.

There might have only been two or three floors, but it was still these stone steps. The chorus girls were right up at the top. You’d hear them clattering down the stairs with their long costumes on. They could have killed themselves. They had a long dressing room with mirrors. The star dressing room had lights round the mirror. Occasionally I’d work as a call boy. I’d have to go round and shout “5 minutes Mr So and So”. Dog acts would be the last on before the interval to give themselves time to clean it up. Chorus girls would always open it. If there was any scenery to change, the comedian would work in front of the curtain.

 

A Programme for 'Take A Peep' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in October 1950 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - A Programme for 'Take A Peep' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in October 1950 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

 

If there was anything on that didn’t involve the band, they would go next door into The Professional House. That wasn’t the real name of the pub but it was always called that. It joined onto the theatre. They’d sit there and then, as one, they’d down their drinks, stand up and go back in and play the next thing. They had it absolutely timed out in their heads.

The Rob Roy Public House in 2008 - Courtesy Ellen and Mark Loudon - Photo Mark Loudon 08.There was another pub, The Rob Roy, which was actually part of the building, at the back end of Beaumont Street, where customers went.

Left - The Rob Roy Public House in 2008 - Courtesy Ellen and Mark Loudon - Photo Mark Loudon 08.

There was a passageway from the Rob Roy that went behind the boxes and down to the backstage. If necessary the backstage men and acts, could get up into the Rob Roy bar. They couldn’t go out of the theatre but this little passageway took them behind the boxes, or ashtrays as they used to call them, and into The Rob Roy. My father didn’t drink in The Rob Roy, but in the Professional House next door.

They’d have the comedian on. There was everything – the paper tearers, who’d think you could make a living tearing paper, making ladders, flags of all nations. There were jugglers, acrobats.

 

A Variety Programme at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in April 1954 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.One time when I was at the side of the stage, this couple of acrobats were on. The man was in a leotard and the girl in a bikini-type thing. They had a springboard. She used to run onto the springboard, right up, and he used to catch her. I don’t know why I was at that side of the stage, but I was. She went to run, and her bra snapped. She had to go all the way round, behind the back curtain of the stage and up the steps to the dressing room. He couldn’t just stand there, so he was doing all sorts of handstands and tricks. The poor sod was buggered you know. She came back, ran onto the springboard and he dropped her. He collapsed on her. Well he’d been doing all sorts of handsprings while she went and got herself sorted out. I thought it was unbelievable. They worked so hard those people.

Right - A Variety Programme at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in April 1954 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Even then, the chorus girls had skimpy costumes. There was the time when they almost sacked me. I thought they’d sack me, I was only a kid. I’d have been about 15 I suppose. It would have been about 1946, just after the war. The place had gone downhill and they’d got in the nude shows. This crumby comedian was on and they had these two topless girls with just a bottom piece on and long black gloves. They stood, arms crossed, covering themselves up. They weren’t allowed to move. This crumby comedian was saying “cor, its cold in here why don’t you warm yourself up girls?” (whilst patting his arms), and all that sort of thing. As they walked off stage, I threw one of the girls a sweet, and she caught it. They marched me into the Managers office and told me that if I went on like this I’d be sacked. What was I getting, a couple of shilling?

 

A Variety Programme at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in April 1954 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection. A Variety Programme at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in April 1954 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - A Variety Programme at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in April 1954 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

 

A Variety Programme for two shows in one night at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool entitled 'Venus Keeps a Date' and 'Those Were the Days' - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection. My Dad was sacked a few times. They used to pay them last thing on a Saturday night because otherwise some of them might bugger off after the show before they dismantled everything. It was the show scenery. There was this huge door at the back and it would all have to be loaded on to this big lorry, and that would travel overnight to the next venue. If they all went there’d be nobody to load it, so they wouldn’t pay them until they’d loaded the wagon. For some reason it was a long pantomime run and they paid them on Saturday afternoon, so they all went straight into The Professional House.

Left - A Variety Programme for two shows in one night at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool entitled 'Venus Keeps a Date' and 'Those Were the Days' - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

That was one of the times that my Dad and some of the others were pirates on Dick Whittington’s ship. He’d sometimes be asked to go on as an extra. The chorus girls were all dressed up aboard ship. The Pirates attacked the ship and were throwing all the girls off. They couldn’t sack them because you couldn’t go out in the street and get replacements. Another time they’d had a few and they had these things out of the box, the ball bearings, they were flicking them onto the stage so that the chorus girls were all out of step.

Another time my Dad was the Captain of the Guard, immaculately dressed. I don‘t know why he was always chosen for that sort of thing, he must have had something about him. It was “The Prince and the Beggarmaid”, and he was coming home every night with cuts on his hands. The end of the swords were tipped but the leading man kept nicking him. There again they must have paid him a bit early because this feller came at him and Dad said “you Bastard” and drove him off the stage, which defeated the plot.

 

A Variety Programme for two shows in one night at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool entitled 'Venus Keeps a Date' and 'Those Were the Days' - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - A Variety Programme for two shows in one night at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool entitled 'Venus Keeps a Date' and 'Those Were the Days' - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

 

After the war, I remember him bringing a beautiful white ten gallon hat home for my nephew. Big Bill Campbell and his Rocky Mountaineers were on. My father must have pinched it. He brought home the hat and a gun. One day my Dad was sitting in the chair, reading the paper. My nephew had been to the pictures and seen somebody hit someone with the butt of a gun, so he hit my Dad over the head with his.

Right - A recording of Big Bill Campbell and his Rocky Mountaineers.

I used to love watching the magicians, because you could see what was happening. I remember them vanishing an elephant. On more than one occasion they had a real elephant on. They regularly had real ponies. One of the places they kept the ponies was in the Corporation stables at Williamson’s Tunnels. They had ponies on at Christmas time and they would walk them through the streets, which wasn’t that far. In those days there were stables everywhere.

The magic acts were very popular and very good. Very clever, I used to love watching them. Years later I was painting at home, and I thought “Oh there’s a magician on TV”, because I could hear the voice and all these phrases. They hadn’t altered at all. When I went in it was Uri Geller who was supposed to have these magic powers. I knew within 30 seconds that he was a magician because he used all the same phrases to put people off.

I got called onto the stage a couple of times. The main one was when I was about 15. I went on to play football with Stanley Matthews. He was the top footballer. In those days the footballers all got the same pay, it didn’t matter how good you were. They got less in the summer because they didn’t play, so Stanley Matthews went on a tour of the theatres. They had a big net across the stage. He would do a few little things and he used to get some of his friends from Blackpool Football Club to come on. They would play football tennis on the stage. These footballers would catch it on their heads, then they’d say “Can I have a volunteer from the audience?” My Dad made sure I was in the first seat on the front row, so that I was chosen. I remember I stuck my foot out at this ball and I nearly decapitated the orchestra leader who was waiting to conduct the band. I thought it was brilliant, just to be within touching distance of Stanley Matthews. I used to play football on the right and pretend I was him. I was always Stanley Matthews. He was a nice man. Even for an act like that, the place was full.

The biggest time I got on stage was with The Crazy Gang. They were the Queen Mother’s favourites. It was Flanagan and Allan, Nervo and Knox and Norton and Gold, but Flanagan and Allan had started making films. It’s Bud Flanagan singing at the beginning of Dad’s Army. Flanagan and Allen were too big to have come up to Liverpool and without them, the others were struggling a bit. They’d added a few other men into the team.

They came up to the Pavilion and I was backstage. I loved watching them. One was doing tricks at the front of the stage, while one of the other fellers, Jimmy Gold I think it was, walked on at the back and did something silly behind him. When he turned round he’d gone.

Right - The Crazy Gang singing Free 1937 from the film O-kay for Sound.

Then he’d start again and someone would come on at the back with a knife through his head. The audience would start laughing and he’d look round, but no one was there. The next time he did it he grabbed hold of my hand and dragged me on. The chap at the front didn’t know what was happening either. There’s Nervo standing there with this little lad, taking a bow. I thought “God, this is good this, they’re all applauding me and I haven’t done anything

 

A Programme for 'Mother Goose' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in January 1946 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.There was a Jewish comedian who also made records, he used to sing things like “My Yiddisha Mama”, that was at the stage when I was going on messages for the acts. I’d go across and get them a newspaper or cigarettes. He was sending me out for things and the idea was that at the end of the week they’d give you something, maybe half a crown. I’d got nothing the first week or the second. I think Chris McBride had a word with him. He wasn’t the stage manager then, but he ran everything. Still I got nothing. That was when the comedian went on as Widow Twanky with the gingham covered basket to throw sweets at the kids in the audience. He went on and put his hand in and it was full of horse manure. He went ballistic, but he paid me the next day. I don’t know who did it. It certainly wouldn’t have been my father. It was probably the man I showed you on the photograph. He was the first man I’d ever seen with an earring. He was a gypsy. It could well have been him. But you couldn’t afford to upset the crew, they could ruin your entire act. All they had to do was make a loud noise when you’re playing the piano, or hitting your top note. You’re putty in their hands.

Left - A Programme for 'Mother Goose' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in January 1946 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

The Pivvy was still going when I was 16 or 17. I probably couldn’t get in as easily then. When they had the nude shows, even then, they wouldn’t allow the stagehands at the side of the stage, but I was up in the flies so it didn’t make any difference. These girls were very, very prudish. I’m not saying they were off stage, but they always covered themselves up back stage. They were always doing nude tableaux like Britannia, and Lady Godiva. They had to stay completely still. They tried to get over that once. They had a girl called “Peaches Page” and she used to go across the stage on a bicycle, as if she were moving. The stage hands used to have to push the bicycle across, but one night one of the lads let a mouse off and she got off the bike on stage.

 

A Programme for 'Mother Goose' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in January 1946 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - A Programme for 'Mother Goose' at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool in January 1946 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

 

It wasn’t the top rank of theatre. They used to get some American comedians coming over. Arthur Askey came on once, I don’t know why he’d come, because he was quite big. He sang “Maybe it’s Because I’m A Londoner”, and they booed him off. Sid Field was on but I don’t remember him. He offered my father a job as his dresser. They would all come there on their way up, or on their way down. They got onto the Empire circuit, Moss Empires as they were called. I remember comedians coming on and the fellers would say “On the way out is he?”, because they would start telling smutty jokes. They wouldn’t be recognised as blue jokes then because they’d have been banned, but they were getting a bit that way. The stagehands’d say “On the way out is he? Too lazy to work his act out” And it was absolutely true, easy money.

Arthur Ellison standing immediately to the left of the stage door at The Pavilion Theatre, Lodge Lane: Liverpool, where he was a stagehand. His brother in law, Jimmy Arden, is on the right of the photograph, probably taken in the 1930s.

Above - Arthur Ellison standing immediately to the left of the stage door at The Pavilion Theatre, Lodge Lane: Liverpool, where he was a stagehand. His brother in law, Jimmy Arden, is on the right of the photograph, probably taken in the 1930s.

 

A signed photograph of Dhita Montekey - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.It was a very, very hard life, 6 days a week. They’d travel on the Sunday. Most of them didn’t have motorcars, they were travelling on the trains. They didn’t see their families very often. Lots of them used to rely on meeting old friends at Crewe. They’d be changing to go somewhere and their friends would be going somewhere else so they’d meet friends at the station. The chorus girls travelled as well.

Tommy Trinder was on in the early days. His brother worked there as an electrician. My father had to go and collect a pair of trousers from the cleaners and deliver them to the lodgings. Tommy Trinder was in bed waiting for his trousers to arrive because he probably only had two pairs. They would be in some little lodging house. They had no money and had to keep themselves. I don’t know what the band used to get, I don’t think they got much money either but they were all local.

Right - A signed photograph of Dhita Montekey - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

A woman used to come on called Korringa. She used to walk up a ladder made of knives in her bare feet. She was dark skinned and only a little woman. She used to lie on the stage with a piece of meat on her face and a lion used to come and eat it off her face. It had no teeth. It was in a little tiny cage at the side. There was a man called Jimmy. He worked a bit at the Pivvy and he’d do a bit somewhere else. At tea-time he used to sell Echos at the corner of Lodge Lane. He had no permanent job. They told him the lion was just a big cat and it wouldn’t harm him, so Jimmy put his hand in the cage. It took the sleeve right out of his coat. They’d all kidded him. I felt sorry for the lion, it was in a tiny cage, being carted round the country. It couldn’t possibly happen now. It was awful.

 

A signed photograph of Bob & Rita Rema - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.Another time my father was there, two of them were dressed as Coldstream Guards, complete with rifles. They came down the steps while patriotic music was played.

My Dad must have still been there in the early 1950s when I was in the Forces, because I’ve got a photograph he sent me of a well known comedian, that he’s written on the back of. In the picture the comedian’s in his Rolls Royce. The Comedian was a drinker. He had a group of people with him and they made a number of films. When he was at the Pavilion, the wife of one of the group used to lock her husband in the dressing room so that he couldn’t get to the pub. He paid somebody at the Pivvy to feed him whisky through a straw through the keyhole. He was a drunk, like a lot of them were. I suppose the pressure and the lack of anything else in their lives caused it. God knows what else there was to do?

Left - A signed photograph of Bob & Rita Rema - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

We used to get some good acts on, good singers and trick cyclists on unicycles. There was a thing at the side, behind the curtain, that you couldn’t see. One feller used to run across the stage, he’d run across and put one foot in it. He’d shoot right up to the top of the curtain as though he’d run right up it. He was a unicyclist called Slim Rider. He used to ride little bikes and these monster ones. I rode one once for about 10 yards, a little one. They let me have a go on it, but they wouldn’t risk the other bikes.

 

A signed photograph of Bob & Rita Rema - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.There was everything you could think of. People spinning plates, keeping them all going. It was anything. People would say, “How the hell does he make a living doing that? ” but they did. It’s show business I suppose. You’d even get people doing quick cartoons. They’d bring someone up out of the audience and do a picture of them. Anything to get noticed and get higher up the ladder. Whatever happened to the chorus girls I don’t know, they probably met some rich man, or got a job in London. I think it’s all changed now hasn’t it?

Right - A signed photograph of Bob & Rita Rema - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Joseph Locke the Irish tenor was on. He had to leave England eventually because of tax, but then he sneaked back later on. He was playing “Abanaza” at the Pavilion. He’d gone down a bit, and one night he just didn’t turn up, so his understudy went on. The next night the understudy walked on one side of the stage and Joseph Locke walked on the other. At the end of the panto the star always provided drinks for the party but he just disappeared owing the money.

It was fine, with a few exceptions the acts were very nice.

The above article was transcribed by the Grandson of Arthur Ellison from an Interview recorded with Stan Hall, Ellison's son, on the 2nd of January 2012, and kindly sent in for inclusion on the site by him along with its accompanying photographs.

 

Photographs of the staff and lucky winners at the Liverpool Pavilion during its Mecca Bingo Days in the 1960s

The stage of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time.

Above - The stage of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time.

Staff at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s pose in front of a banner reading 'Welcome Back Val Cave - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time.

Above - Staff at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s pose in front of a banner reading 'Welcome Back Val Cave - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time.

The stage of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s, shown here during a fancy dress contest organized for customers supporting the local football teams, Liverpool and Everton - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time, and is also shown in the photograph.

Above - The stage of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s, shown here during a fancy dress contest organized for customers supporting the local football teams, Liverpool and Everton - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time, and is also shown in the photograph.

A lucky winner at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time.

Above - A lucky winner at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time.

Staff and some lucky winners pose on stage at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time.

Above - Staff and some lucky winners pose on stage at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time.

A lucky winner is presented with a cheque on stage at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time and says 'The young lady presenting the check to the winner, was herself a winner of the legs of the miss universe contest held at the Pivvy some time before'

Above - A lucky winner is presented with a cheque on stage at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre during its Mecca Bingo days in the 1960s - Courtesy Dave Fox who was a Bingo Caller there at the time and says 'The young lady presenting the check to the winner, was herself a winner of the legs of the miss universe contest held at the Pivvy some time before'

 

The Liverpool Pavilion Theatre in 2008

The Pivvy Bingo Club situated in the remains of the former Liverool Pavilion Theatre in 2008, one hundred years after it was first built in 1908 - The pub at the rear of the building is called the Rob Roy which has connecting doors to what is left of the theatre. - Courtesy Ellen and Mark Loudon - Photo Mark Loudon 08.

Above - The Pivvy Bingo Club situated in the remains of the former Liverool Pavilion Theatre in 2008, one hundred years after it was first built in 1908 - The pub at the rear of the building is called the Rob Roy which has connecting doors to what is left of the theatre. - Courtesy Ellen and Mark Loudon - Photo Mark Loudon 08.

The remains of the Liverool Pavilion Theatre in 2008, one hundred years after it was built in 1908 - Courtesy Ellen and Mark Loudon - Photo Mark Loudon 08.

Above - The remains of the Liverool Pavilion Theatre in 2008, one hundred years after it was first built in 1908 - Courtesy Ellen and Mark Loudon - Photo Mark Loudon 08.

 

Surviving Remnants of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre in 2012

The Bingo Club which now occupies part of the former Liverpool Pavilion Theatre - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - The Bingo Club which now occupies part of the former Liverpool Pavilion Theatre - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Arthur Ellison worked at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre as a flyman for many years, and recently his son, Stan Hall, who also worked at the Theatre in the 1940s as a stagehand, and Ellison's grandaughter, went back for a nostalgic look round the place with the Theatre's present owners, who have graciously allowed me to reproduce some photos of the surviving remnants of the former Theatre here. The new building, which houses the Bingo Hall, is very smart, modern and popular and although the original upstairs areas of the former Theatre are largely unused the current owners have made sure that further deterioration is kept to a minimum. Stan Hall says that 'the building was a bit tatty even in the days when he worked there so he was quite relieved that at least 'The Pivvy' still exists and is in good hands.'

The new building which houses the current Bingo Hall and was constructed where the foyer and stage door of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre was formerly situated - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - The new building which houses the current Bingo Hall and was constructed where the foyer and stage door of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre was formerly situated - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

The new building which was constructed where the stage door of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre was situated - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - The new building which was constructed where the stage door of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre was situated - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

The Lorton Street rear elevation of the former Liverpool Pavilion Theatre - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - The Lorton Street rear elevation of the former Liverpool Pavilion Theatre - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

The Beaumont Street elevation of the former Liverpool Pavilion Theatre which shows the green edged rectangles which were originally used for displaying Theatre Posters. The doors on the left were the original circle entrance doors - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - The Beaumont Street elevation of the former Liverpool Pavilion Theatre which shows the green edged rectangles which were originally used for displaying Theatre Posters. The doors on the left were the original circle entrance doors - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

The original Stairs to the Circle which led from the Foyer of the former Liverpool Pavilion Theatre - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - The original Stairs to the Circle which led from the Foyer of the former Liverpool Pavilion Theatre - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

The Auditorium roof of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre which was damaged by fire in the 1980s and despite appearances is now watertight - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - The Auditorium roof over the Circle of the former Liverpool Pavilion Theatre which was damaged by fire in the 1980s and despite appearances is now watertight - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

The former Circle of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre which is now derelict but watertight - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - The former Circle of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre which is now derelict but watertight - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

The former Circle of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre which is now derelict but watertight - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - The former Circle of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre which is now derelict but watertight - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

The former Circle of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre which is now derelict but watertight. The door centre originally led downstairs to the exit - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - The former Circle of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre which is now derelict but watertight. The door centre originally led downstairs to the exit - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

The former Circle Bar of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre. The Acts used to drink here in the 1950s when it was a proper bar with optics etc. The Tudor panelling was added in 1960s - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - The former Circle Bar of the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre. The Acts used to drink here in the 1950s when it was a proper bar with optics etc. The Tudor paneling was added in 1960s - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Some surviving plasterwork in a room upstairs at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre  - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection. The original Liverpool  Pavilion Theatre Safe - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

Above - Some surviving plasterwork in a room upstairs at the Liverpool Pavilion Theatre and the original Theatre's safe which is too heavy to move. The safe remained locked for years until the owners found someone who could open it. Inside there was a wealth of original handbills for stars such as Gracie Fields. Unfortunately when the owners moved house the items were placed by the door in a carrier bag and the bin men took them. - Photo 2012 - Courtesy the Arthur Ellison collection.

 

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