The Alhambra Theatre, Ashton Road and Ogden Lane, Openshaw, Manchester
Also - The Pavilion Cinema
Above - The Alhambra Theatre, Manchester - Courtesy Roy Cross.
The Alhambra Theatre was constructed in 1908 on what was then the main road from Manchester to Ashton under Lyne. It was situated on the corner of Ogden Lane, and was only 3 bus stops away from Broadhead's huge Metropole Theatre where House Full notices were in use every week. The Theatre was built by H. A Turner for Alhambra Manchester Ltd of which Mr Henry Douglas Moorhouse was the Managing Director. He was also a director of several other halls and cinemas and was an accountant with a prominent firm of Manchester Solicitors.
The Alhambra was designed as a Music Hall with a fan shaped auditorium capable of seating 2,000 people on three levels, stalls and two balconies, with one box either side of the proscenium. The Theatre opened in 1909 and for the first four years ran successfully as a Music Hall but in 1914 the rear of the upper circle was converted for Cinema use and ran as a separate Cinema called the Pavilion Cinema. The main Theatre's seating was cut to just over 1,500 as a result. An extra entrance to the Pavilion Cinema was created in Bank Street.
It wasn't long however, before the main Theatre became a Cinema and the Pavilion became a Dance Hall. This carried on for the next 50 years before eventually succumbing to conversion as a Sporting Club.
In April 1960 the Stage House and dressing rooms of the former Theatre were gutted and converted into a restaurant, called the Alhambra Restaurant, although it is thought that there may have been some surviving remnants of the Theatre in the restaurant itself.
The auditorium was later gutted and painted black for conversion into a nightclub, although the plaster front of the balcony and parts of the original sunburner in the ceiling remained. Later the auditorium was used as timber store and glass works and only the Facade remained in its original form minus the original square dome above. The night club was still in use in the 1980s but had a bad reputation by then.
The building closed in 2007, and in October 2009 a fire in the Theatre's remains ended any hope for the building's future. By November 2009 what little remained of the Alhambra Theatre was finally demolished.
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