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The Crown Theatre, Corner of Church Street and Mather Road, Eccles, Greater Manchester

Formerly - The Lyceum Theatre - Later - The Crown Cinema / Crown Bingo

Manchester Theatres Index

The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

 

A Bill for the Grand Opening of the Lyceum Theatre, Eccles on the 27th of February 1899 - Courtesy Roy CrossThe Crown Theatre in Church Street, Eccles, Greater Manchester was designed by Campbell & Horsley and originally opened as the Lyceum Theatre on Monday February the 27th 1899.

Right - A Bill for the Grand Opening of the Lyceum Theatre, Eccles on Monday the 27th of February 1899 - Courtesy Roy Cross.

The Theatre was built in the Baroque style and its auditorium, constructed on four levels, Stalls and three Circles, supported by columns, could seat 2,500 people.

The ERA reported on the opening of the Lyceum Theatre in their 4th of March 1899 edition saying:- 'The new Lyceum Theatre at Eccles was opened to the public last Monday night. This busy Lancashire town has been too long in want of a place of amusement, or a house where entertainment of the higher class could be given, and when Mr Flanagan's intentions were known some months ago they received the warmest approval of the inhabitants.

Without doubt the theatre is one of the prettiest in the north, and possesses a stage sufficient to accommodate the most gorgeous spectacles. It is built on the latest modern plan, and from any part of the house the spectator has an uninterrupted view of the stage.

The auditorium is constructed in three tiers,supported by four columns, and will seat about 2,000 people. The stage measures 67ft. in width, 38ft. from the proscenium to the back wall, and 26ft. across the proscenium opening. The working gridiron is undoubtedly one of the finest in the provinces, and there is room above the proscenium opening to lift a 28ft. by 36ft. cloth clear out of sight. The mezzanine extends 10ft. to 12ft. below the stage, according to the rake. The stage floor beams are set in iron shoes, so that if required they can be lifted, the whole floor taken out, and there are also a number of bridges and gaps available for the most elaborate spectacular effects. The fire curtain is embossed with the heraldic insignia of the Borough of Eccles, and the ornamentation of the proscenium comprises the representation of Shakespeare's Seven Ages, painted by Hugh Freemantle. The act-drop is a facsimile of Beverley's well-known production for the opening of the Theatre Royal, Manchester, in the year 1845 - a Grecian subject, painted by J. I. Keith.

The fittings throughout are on the most elaborate scale and in the English renaissance style, from the designs of Mr Walter Campbell. The upholstering is in blue and gold velvet, with plush curtains in shades to match the entire decorations. The theatre is lighted by electricity, which is also employed for the footlights, and for special purpose on the stage. The windows of the foyer open to a verandah running the entire length of the building, and are provided with means of escape in the case of alarm or fire. The dressing-rooms (seventeen in number) are situated on one side of the theatre on four floors. Each dressing-room is provided with the necessary requirements, including an electric calling bell, as well as a small cooking-range. There are automatic sprinklers all over the theatre, which is absolutely fireproof. The architects are Messrs Campbell and Horsley, of Eccles and Manchester. The decorations and furnishing throughout are by A. R. Dean, Limited, of London and Birmingham.

The original auditorium of the Crown Theatre, Eccles - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - The original auditorium of the Crown Theatre, Eccles - Courtesy Roy Cross

On the 23d ult., at the informal or social opening, the Mayor of Eccles (Dr. Hamilton). after expressing the pleasure at receiving Mr Flanagan's invitation, said it was the duty of a Mayor to promote, as far as possible, the social, intellectual, and moral improvements of the burgesses over whom he presided. The influence of the drama on our social and moral life had been very great indeed. It was originally a religious institution, but he regretted to says that the tendency of the public taste had reduced it very much below its original level. There had been in recent years a very considerable revival of interest in the theatre, and the public were beginning to appreciate the higher classical works. He did not doubt that the new theatre would have a moral influence upon life in Eccles. Mr Flanagan's Shakespearean revivals had been remarkably successful. They had been well staged, and had done much to revive interest in our national poet. The Associated Managers' Gay Grisette company had the honour of giving the first performance at the new theatre on Monday, when it was formally opened to the public.

The hypercritical might have detected a few slight hitches on Monday night, but taking everything into consideration, the piece was very creditably performed. Mr Colin Mackay as Captain Jack Canary was responsible for a good deal of fun, acting and singing in a smart, racy style. Mr G. Bastow as Amos Basingstoke proved amusing. Mr Geo. Gray as Col. Pompompom was very successful, putting plenty of life into the part without overdoing it. Mr Geo. L. Montague made the most of his opportunities as Blossom; the same may be said of Mr Maitland Dicker as the Sultan of Sahara; and Messrs Sterling and Squire Graham also deserve praise for their respective performances of O'Hooley and Janos. Miss Nell Gwynne as Babette was very popular with the audience, as she deserved to be, and was warmly encored on one or two occasions. Miss Violet Bessle as Lena showed distinct artistic merit, both in her singing and acting. Credit should also be given to Miss Marie Anderson (Miss Basingstoke) and Miss Ruby Hallier (Princess Lulu), who did all that was required of them. The chorus and orchestra were quite up to the mark, and the scenery and dresses beautiful. There was a large house, and the National Anthem was sung previous to the raising of the curtain, the solo being rendered by Miss Lizzie Skeet.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the ERA, 4th of March 1899.

 

A Google StreetView Image of Church Street, Eccles and the Crown Theatre - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView Image of Church Street, Eccles and the Crown Theatre - Click to Interact

A poster for a Variety show at the Crown Theatre, Manchester on Monday the 4th of October 1920 - Courtesy Stephen Wischhusen.The Theatre opened as the Lyceum Theatre on Monday February the 27th 1899 and was original intended to be home to legitimate theatre, however, even in its opening year it had begun showing bioscope presentations and would soon be home to Variety and Music Hall too.

The Lyceum was later renamed the Crown Theatre in 1907 when it had a change of ownership.

Right - A poster for a Variety show at the Crown Theatre, Manchester on Monday the 4th of October 1920 - Courtesy Stephen Wischhusen.

The Theatre would later be renamed the Crown Cinema in 1932 when it was converted into a Cinema. As a Cinema the Crown continued right up until 1963 when, like so many others around the country, it was converted into a Bingo Hall (see image below). The stage house was then demolished leaving only the auditorium and front of house areas intact.

The Crown Theatre has been closed since the 1980s and has stood derelict since the roof was destroyed by a fire in June 2013. The Theatre is currently subject to a proposal to be completely demolished, and for the site to be used to for the construction of a 7 storey apartment block. However, Salford Online has set up a Facebook group to try and help save the Theatre from this fate, details of which can be found here. Some photographs of the exterior of the Crown Theatre in 2009, 2011, and 2015 can be seen below. And photographs of the interior today can be seen here and here.

Some of the later information for this Theatre was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website. Archive newspaper reports were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.

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

 

The Crown Theatre during its Bingo years - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - The Crown Theatre during its Bingo years - Courtesy Roy Cross

 

Some Photographs of the Crown Theatre in 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2016

2009

The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in 2009 - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in 2009 - Courtesy Roy Cross

The former Dressing Room Block and Stage Door (left of rear of red car) of the Lyceum / Operetta House at Eccles in 2009 - Courtesy Roy Cross.

Above - The former Dressing Room Block and Stage Door (left of rear of red car) of the Crown Theatre / Lyceum / Operetta House at Eccles in 2009 - Courtesy Roy Cross. The Stage House had been removed but the bricked in windows of the many dressing rooms could still be seen. A photograph by Ian Grundy of the demolished rear portions of the Crown Theatre can be seen here.

The former Dressing Room Block of the Lyceum / Operetta House at Eccles today - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - The former Dressing Room Block of the Crown Theatre / Lyceum / Operetta House at Eccles in 2009 - Courtesy Roy Cross

2011

The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in September 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in September 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

2015

The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

The former Dressing Room Block and Stage Door of the Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason.

Above - The former Dressing Room Block and Stage Door of the Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason. A photograph by Ian Grundy of the demolished rear portions of the Crown Theatre can be seen here.

The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason - Note the 1898 date engraved into the Facade, the Theatre opened in February1899.

Above - The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason - Note the 1898 date engraved into the Facade, the Theatre opened in February1899.

The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in March 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

2016

The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in February 2016 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in February 2016 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in February 2016 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in February 2016 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Two Cakes celebrating the 117th birthday of the opening of the Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in February 2016 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - Two Cakes celebrating the 117th birthday of the opening of the Crown Theatre, Eccles, Manchester in a photograph taken in February 2016 - Courtesy Alfred Mason, who says:- 'Saturday 27th February 2016 was the 117th birthday of the opening of the Crown Theatre and there was an open day near the Theatre in a restaurant (The Theatre itself is strictly off limits and is surrounded by a security fence) run by the campaign to save the Theatre.'

 

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