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Theatres and Halls in Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Opera House - Futurist Theatre / Cinema - Kiralfy's Arcadia - Catlin's Arcadia - Palladium Picture House - Arcadia Theatre - Aquarium - Theatre Royal - Spa Theatre - Floral Hall - Alexandra Music Hall - Capitol Theatre - Pierrots and Pierrettes in Scarborough - The Pavilion Theatre - The Royal Pantheon Music Hall

 

The Opera House, St Thomas Street, Scarborough

Formerly - The Grand Circus / Prince of Wales Circus / Zalvas Hippodrome / The New Hippodrome / The Opera House Casino

A Google StreetView Image of the Opera House Casino, Scarborough, constructed on the site of the former Opera House, demolished in 2004 - Click to Interact.

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the Opera House Casino, Scarborough, constructed on the site of the former Opera House, demolished in 2004 - Click to Interact.

The Stage and Stalls of the Scarborough Opera House in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.The Theatre which until recently stood in St. Thomas Street, Scarborough and was sadly demolished in 2004, was known to all as the Scarborough Opera House, but what may be less well known is that it was built on the site of a former wooden circus building called Charles Adnam's Grand Circus. This Wooden Circus was built by John Petch in 1876 and then almost completely reconstructed the following year by Frank Tugwell when it changed ownership and was renamed Hengler's Grand Circus.

Right - The Stage and Stalls of the Scarborough Opera House in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.

Auditorium of the Opera House, Scarborough in the 1930s, Courtesy The Theatres Trust.Two years later there was another change of name, this time to the Prince of Wales Circus in 1878, and then in 1900 it was renamed Zalvas Hippodrome. Eight years later and another change of name, this time to the New Hippodrome in 1908. (See Entrance Tokens Below.)

Left - The Auditorium of the Opera House, Scarborough in the 1930s, Courtesy The Theatres Trust.

In 1910 there was another change of name, to the Opera House and finally this one stuck, although there was a 'Grand' put in front of the Opera House for a while.

The Scarborough Opera House was designed by Frank Tugwell and, until its demolition in 2004, was one of the last remaining buildings designed by him still in existance. A photograph of the exterior of the Opera House in 1989 by Ian Grundy can be seen here. The horse shoe shaped auditorium of the Opera House was on three levels with three boxes either side of the proscenium, one of which was in an unusual ash-tray shape (see images below).

 

The auditorium of the Scarborough Opera House in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.

Above - The auditorium of the Scarborough Opera House in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.

The auditorium of the Scarborough Opera House in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.

Above - The auditorium of the Scarborough Opera House in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.

An Entrance Token for the New Hippodrome, Scarborough - Courtesy Alan Judd An Entrance Token for the New Hippodrome, Scarborough - Courtesy Alan Judd

Above - An Entrance Token for the 1908 New Hippodrome, Scarborough, the name which preceded the Opera House - Courtesy Alan Judd.

 

1948 Season Programmes for the Opera House Scarborough.In 1948 the Box Office was rebuilt and this simple task didn't go quite as smoothly as was predicted, you can read more about this in the article below.

Right - Six 1948 Season Programmes for the Opera House Scarborough which was being run at the time by the York Repertory Company, and produced by Geoffrey Staines, who ran two companies at this time alternating weekly with the York Theatre Royal.

1976 saw a much needed refurbishment of the Theatre and it was re-roofed at the same time. A new bar was also added at the rear of the Theatre at this time too.

The Theatre closed after the 1995 season and slowly fell into disrepair. And sadly the Grade II listed Theatre was demolished in 2004 after the auditorium was flooded, and the foyer block ruined after a series of arson attacks.

A Casino called the Opera House Casino was then built on the site, you may like to visit their own website here.

You may also be interested in seeing these images of the Opera House before and during it's demolition.

 

The Last two seasons at the Opera House, Scarborough

Minstrel Spectacular 94 Minstrel Spectacular 94

Minstrel Spectacular 95 Minstrel Spectacular 95

Above - The last two Minstrel Spectacular Programmes presented at The Royal Opera House, Scarborough in 1994, and 1995 - Courtesy Keith Hopkins.

A Poster for the 1994 Minstrel Spectacular at The Royal Opera House, Scarborough - Courtesy Keith Hopkins - Poster Reproduced with the kind permission of John Redgrave who produced the last two Minstrel shows at Theatre.

Above - A Poster for the 1994 Minstrel Spectacular at The Royal Opera House, Scarborough - Courtesy Keith Hopkins - Poster Reproduced with the kind permission of John Redgrave who produced the last two Minstrel shows at Theatre.

You may also be interested in seeing these images of the Opera House and it's demolition.

Arthur Lloyd is known to have performed in Scarborough in 1867, 1879, 1886.

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

 

ALTERATIONS AND REPAIRS

By PENNY PLAIN

From an Opera House Scarborough Programme for December 6th 1948

The appearance of our recently completed new Box, Office, with its added amenities to both patrons, and staff, has caused considerable appreciative comment, but during its construction there were many occasions when both patrons and management felt the work was taking an unconscionable time, especially when, in spite of previous assurances to the contrary, the work progressed throughout the height of our busy season.

Cutting from a 1948 Scarborough Opera House Programme

 

The necessity of providing more convenient and additional booking facilities had long been occupying the minds of the administrators of the Opera House, but it was not until the 24th May of this year that the actual work commenced. Prior to this, when making the preliminary survey, our architects found a section of the flooring of both the existing Box Office and the site of the new was seriously affected with dry rot of the fungal type, necessitating the immediate insertion of temporary supports,

Cutting from a 1948 Scarborough Opera House ProgrammeOn wider examination the space below was found to be an old cellar which had, at some previous date, been partially filled with clay and rubble. To complete the required excavation about 54 tons of such material were removed. Water seepage, which had for a long time been a matter of some concern and believed to originate from underground springs situated some distance behind the Opera House, proved to amount to a depth of 1 inch following heavy rains. This discovery necessitated the provision of a special drainage system.

Cutting from a 1948 Scarborough Opera House ProgrammeAs work progressed various cracks in the plaster-work became apparent, and these were traced to a settlement in the large wooden beam extending across the display window. It was found that the weight of the main front elevation resting on this beam was crushing its supporting walls. To deal with this satisfactorily the whole of the front was demolished and a complete new window installed which will, in due course, be faced in clack vitrolite with chromium-plated steel windows in the plinth.

During the period of subsidence heavy baulks of timber were inserted to, support the main, central column as the settlement affected the floors above, including the Manager's private flat, so that doors became impossible to close.

Cutting from a 1948 Scarborough Opera House ProgrammeAs can be appreciated, the tracing of these additional defects and effecting their remedy involved additional time, but are really believed to have been a blessing in disguise as serious consequences might have developed had they remained undiscovered much longer.

On the 30th October, the staff were able to conduct business from the new Box Office, and it is hoped that by the time our patrons read this article the foyer will be free of all obstruction. There still remain, of course, various "finishing touches" to be carried out, but the delay in their completion does not seriously detract from the efficient working of the new scheme. Delivery of the grilles for the four Box Office windows is still awaited owing to the shortage of the required materials, which necessitated the order being placed with an outside firm instead of locally, as was originally intended.

Cutting from a 1948 Scarborough Opera House ProgrammeThe provision of the four booking windows has proved a very useful amenity by assisting those patrons who wish to reserve seats for other than the current performance. One window is solely for bookings during the early part of the week, the second for Permanent Seatholders, the third for reservations during the second half of the week, and the fourth is used exclusively by Upper Circle patrons, for whose added convenience a new ticket machine has been installed.

The completed scheme includes a cloakroom with the necessary counter immediately opposite the Box Office, and a specially designed ladies' toilet suite in the basement.

The above text is from a December 6th 1948 Opera House Scarborough Programme. Advertisements are from various 1948 Season Programmes.

 

The Theatre Royal, Scarborough

The Theatre Royal, Scarborough - From 'The Playgoer' in 1901 - Courtesy Iain Wotherspoon.

Above - The Theatre Royal, Scarborough - From 'The Playgoer' in 1901 - Courtesy Iain Wotherspoon.

A Poster for 'Pizarro' and 'Corsican Brothers or The Compact of Death' at the Theatre Royal, Scarborough for Thursday the 23rd of July 1857 - Courtesy Neil Pearson.The Theatre Royal, Scarborough, which is shown above, was built in 1771 for Thomas Bates, a celebrated comedian of the time, by the Reverend Thomas Haggit, a clergyman of the Church of England. However, this Theatre replaced an even earlier Theatre Royal which is said to have existed since 1733, see article below.

When the picture above was taken in 1901 the 1771 Theatre was already 130 years old. There was a small article printed along with the image in the Playgoer which reads thus:- 'Few theatres existing can boast so historic a dramatic record as the Theatre Royal, Scarborough. The Rev. Thomas Haggitt, a clergyman of the Church of England, built it just one hundred and thirty years ago for Thomas Bates, a celebrated comedian of the day, who controlled it for about forty years, when it was purchased by Stephen Kemble (brother of Mrs.Siddons), since which time nearly every popular actor and actress have appeared on its boards. The house is now owned by Mrs. Ilenry Mayhew, who has in Mr. F. P. Morgan a capable, courteous, and most enterprising manager.'

The above text and Theatre image are from 'The Playgoer' of 1901 - Courtesy Iain Wotherspoon.

A letter published in the ERA on the 26th of November 1881 gives some more details on the early history of the Theatre Royal saying:- '

ANCIENT THEATRES
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ERA

Sir,--In your last week's issue a letter appeared giving an account of the antiquity of the Richmond Theatre, erected in 1766. Allow me to mention one of a still earlier date - the Theatre Royal, at Scarborough, which has been at least a century and a half in existence, as we find from records of its past career that it was in the year 1733 under the management of a Mr Kerregan.

Right - A Poster for 'Pizarro' and 'Corsican Brothers or The Compact of Death' at the Theatre Royal, Scarborough for Thursday the 23rd of July 1857 - Courtesy Neil Pearson. In the cast were C. H. Simms, Miss Cattle, E. Cameron, Miss Murray, G. F. De Vere, Mr. Charles, Mr. Sterne, Ely Loveday, W. J. Evans, Frederick Hastings, W. Holland, J. Tyrrell, Mr. Blyde, Mr. Benson, Miss Conway, and Miss E. Crane.Prices were Boxes3s, Pit 2s, Gallery 1s.

An old local work, in speaking of the amusements of the visitors at that time, thus alludes to the theatre:- In the afternoon plays are acted, to which most of the gentry in town resort; Kerregan is now here with his company, and (allowing for scenes and decorations) they perform several plays very well. After the play is over, it is customary for visitors to go to the Long-room, where they dance or play till about nine, and then sup in company. Rooms, balls, public teas, breakfasts, and the playhouse are all, undoubtedly, staple entertainments, and all of them (especially the two last) abundantly gratifying at Scarborough; the actors being in general solicitous to perform their respective parts with taste, and many of them prove successful in the art of pleasing. The theatre is also well adapted to accommodate the spectators." A more detailed account of this ancient theatre, once the property of the Kemble family, was furnished to The Era Almanack in 1873, under the title of "The Stage at Scarborough." The theatre is now the property of Mr W. R. Beverly. It is fifty years since Mdlle. Celeste appeared on this stage in The French Spy. Trusting this relic of the past may receive favourable notice, I remain, yours truly, C. MEADLEY, Scarborough, November 23d, 1881.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the ERA 26th of November 1881.

Arthur Lloyd is known to have performed in Scarborough ten years after the production in the poster shown above right in 1867, and again in 1879 and 1886.

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

 

The Spa Theatre, Cleveland Way, Scarborough

A Google StreetView Image of the Scarborough Spa Complex and Theatre - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the Scarborough Spa Complex and Theatre - Click to Interact

Programme for the 1958 season at The Spa, Scarborough.The Scarborough Spa Theatre was built in 1879 and opened in June that year although the official opening was on the 2nd of August 1880. The Theatre was designed by Verity and Hunt and constructed on the first floor of a complex comprising a Music Room, a restaurant, two ballrooms and an open-air Sun Court for daytime concerts and dancing.

The Spa Complex, Scarborough - From a PostcardRight - A Programme for the 1958 season at The Spa Theatre, Scarborough.

Left - The Spa Complex, Scarborough - From an early Postcard.

The Spa Theatre replaced the earlier Gothic Saloon of 1839, built by Henry Wyatt and altered by Sir Joseph Paxton in 1857 / 1858, which was gutted by fire in 1876.

 

The auditorium of the Spa Theatre, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner whose grandfather, Moses Halladjian,  took the photograph and was a freelance photographer in Scarborough from 1925 to 1937

Above - The auditorium of the Spa Theatre, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner whose grandfather, Moses Halladjian, took the photograph and was a freelance photographer in Scarborough from 1925 to 1937

Photograph of the Auditorium and Stage of the Spa Theatre, Scarborough in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle

Above - Photograph of the Auditorium and Stage of the Spa Theatre, Scarborough in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle

Photograph of the Auditorium and Stage of the Spa Theatre, Scarborough in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle

Above - Photograph of the Auditorium and Stage of the Spa Theatre, Scarborough in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle

Photograph of the Auditorium from the Stage of the Spa Theatre, Scarborough in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle

Above - Photograph of the Auditorium from the Stage of the Spa Theatre, Scarborough in 1990 - Courtesy Ted Bottle

 

The Chairman on stage at the Spa Theatre in 1989 - Courtesy Keith Hopkins.Ted Bottle, whose photographs of the Spa Theatre are shown above writes: 'The Scarborough Spa Theatre is a most delightful place - very intimate building designed by Verity and Hunt with an ornate frieze above the proscenium. Note the footlights, a forbidden word in the theatre business but I liked them. They added warmth and an air of mystery when played on the tabs. Like many other theatres it is reputed to be haunted. At the evening performance prior to my photographic visit, someone in the audience was rather upset by the appearance of someone not of this world, so the management told me.' Ted Bottle.

A regular visitor to the site, Keith Hopkins, writes:- 'I am still having hours of pleasure from the Arthur Lloyd website. Today I looked at Scarborough where I appeared for twelve years - 8 at the Spa Theatre, 2 at the Opera House (the last show 'THE MINSTRELS' packed them in for 2 seasons), 1 at The Futurist, and another at The Grand Hotel.

Right - The Chairman on stage at the Spa Theatre in 1989 - Courtesy Keith Hopkins.

I was thrilled to see my Chairman's table in the photographs of the Spa theatre. A couple of photographs taken in 1989 at The Spa Theatre (shown right and below) show the original blue velvet swag curtain and the same table, only slightly changed. We did 3 changes of programme 1 modern variety, 1 O.T.M.H., and one play, all in repertoire. 6 dancers 2 spec acts, 2 singers and a comic! Happy days!' - Keith Hopkins.

The Grade II Listed Spa Theatre today has capacity of 570 including 168 seats at balcony level.

You may like to visit the Theatre's own website here.

Arthur Lloyd is known to have performed in Scarborough 1867, 1879, 1886

 

Performers and Chairman on stage at the Spa Theatre in 1989 - Courtesy Keith Hopkins

Above - Performers and Chairman on stage at the Spa Theatre in 1989 - Courtesy Keith Hopkins

 

The Floral Hall, Scarborough

Later - The Scarborough Bowls Centre

A Postcard depicting the Floral Hall and Alexandra Gardens, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Spawforth from his wonderful site 'Postcards of Scarborough.'

Above - A Postcard depicting the Floral Hall and Alexandra Gardens, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Spawforth from his wonderful site 'Postcards of Scarborough.'

A 'Summer Spectacular' programme for the Floral Hall Theatre, Scarborough, undated but probably early 1970s. The Floral Hall, Scarborough was not so much a Theatre in its early days but a large open Conservatory housing entertainments such as the popular Pierrot shows of the time, see photographs below.

The Hall began life as the Alexandra Gardens, an open air venue, but quickly had a glass roof constructed over it to turn it into a theatrical space.

Right - A 'Summer Spectacular' programme for the Floral Hall Theatre, Scarborough, undated but probably early 1970s. In the show were Freddie (Parrot Face) Davies, Lonnie Donegan, The Dallsa Boys, Ayshea, Robert Young, and the Fred Peter's Dancers.

In 1987 the local Council deemed the Floral Hall building unsafe and withdrew its license saying it would cost £500,000 to make it safe, a sum they were unable or unwilling to find.

The Theatre never reopened and it was demolished in 1989. The site of the Floral Hall is today home to the Scarborough Bowls Centre.

 

A 'Summer Spectacular' programme for the Floral Hall Theatre, Scarborough, undated but probably early 1970s.

Above - A 'Summer Spectacular' programme for the Floral Hall Theatre, Scarborough, undated but probably early 1970s.

The Entrance to the Floral Hall, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner whose grandfather, Moses Halladjian,  took the photograph and was a freelance photographer in Scarborough from 1925 to 1937

Above - The Entrance to the Floral Hall, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner whose grandfather, Moses Halladjian, took the photograph and was a freelance photographer in Scarborough from 1925 to 1937

A Postcard showing the interior of the Floral Hall, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Spawforth from his wonderful site 'Postcards of Scarborough.'

Above - A Postcard showing the interior of the Floral Hall, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Spawforth from his wonderful site 'Postcards of Scarborough.'

The Cafe in the Floral Hall, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner whose grandfather, Moses Halladjian,  took the photograph and was a freelance photographer in Scarborough from 1925 to 1937

Above - The Cafe in the Floral Hall, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner whose grandfather, Moses Halladjian, took the photograph and was a freelance photographer in Scarborough from 1925 to 1937

 

Photographs of Pierrots and Pierrettes performing in Scarborough

A Photograph of Pierrots and Pierrettes performing in Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner

A Photograph of Pierrots and Pierrettes performing in Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner

A Photograph of Pierrots and Pierrettes performing in Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner

A Photograph of Pierrots and Pierrettes performing in Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner

A Photograph of Pierrots and Pierrettes performing in Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner

A Photograph of Pierrots and Pierrettes performing in Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner

A Photograph of Pierrots and Pierrettes performing in Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner

A Photograph of Pierrots and Pierrettes performing in Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner

A Photograph of Pierrots and Pierrettes performing in Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner

Above - A selection of Photographs of Pierrots and Pierrettes performing in Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Tonner whose grandfather, Moses Halladjian, took the photographs and was a freelance photographer in Scarborough from 1925 to 1937. The venue could have been the Floral Hall or the Spa Theatre.

 

The Futurist Theatre and Cinema, Foreshore Road, Scarborough

Formerly - Kiralfy's Arcadia / Catlin's Arcadia

 A Google Streetview image of the Futurist Theatre, Scarborough - Click to Interact

Above - A Google Streetview image of the Futurist Theatre, Scarborough - Click to Interact

A programme for 'The Black & White Minstrel Show of 1972' at the Futurist Theatre, Scarborough.The Futurist Theatre was designed by F. A. Tugwell and was originally built as a Cinema in 1920 on the site of the former Kiralfy's Arcadia, later Catlin's Arcadia (see image below), which had opened in July 1903 and was closed and demolished in 1920 to make way for the new Cinema. At this time the Palladium Picture House, next door, also a Cinema, was renamed the Arcadia Theatre and began doing live theatre. The Futurist Cinema originally had a capacity of 2,393.

Right - A programme for 'The Black & White Minstrel Show of 1972' at the Futurist Theatre, Scarborough.

A Poster for 'Minstrel Showtime' celebrating the 40th anniversary of 'The Black & White Minstrels', at the Futurist Theatre, Scarborough - Courtesy Keith Hopkins. In 1957 the Cinema was converted for live theatre use by Captain Ritson who removed the former Cinema's organ pipes and constructed two staircases which descended to the new stage. In 1959 the proscenium was widened, again by Captain Ritson.

Left - A Poster for 'Minstrel Showtime' celebrating the 40th anniversary of 'The Black & White Minstrels', at the Futurist Theatre, Scarborough - Courtesy Keith Hopkins. On the Bill for this variety production were Keith Harris, Orville & Cuddles, Gary Driscoll, Keith Hopkins, Cerdic Monarch, Wayne Dobson, Kerry Mackenzie, and The Minstrel Dancers.

In 1968 the Futurist Theatre was redesigned by Cassidy, Farrington & Dennys and expanded to include a new and much larger stage over much of the site of the former Palladium Picture House next door. At this time the exterior and interior were also radically altered. The Futurist originally had an exterior faced with Italianate style faience which still survives behind the 1968 exterior of yellow panels and is partly still visible higher up the frontage. The Theatre has a large auditorium with a capacity of 2,155, consisting of stalls and one circle which is supported by columns, and since 1968 the auditorium has also included boxes either side of the proscenium even though they have no view of the stage. Six large boxes were also constructed above the rear circle at this time. Unusually the stage of the Futurist Theatre is situated above the Foyer which means that no traps are able to be fitted into the stage.

 

Details from a programme for 'The Black & White Minstrel Show of 1972' at the Futurist Theatre, Scarborough.

Above - Details from a programme for 'The Black & White Minstrel Show of 1972' at the Futurist Theatre, Scarborough.

A Postcard depicting Catlin's Arcadia, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Spawforth from his wonderful site 'Postcards of Scarborough.'

Above - A Postcard depicting Catlin's Arcadia, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Spawforth from his wonderful site 'Postcards of Scarborough.'

A Postcard depicting the Futurist Theatre, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Spawforth from his wonderful site 'Postcards of Scarborough.'

Above - A Postcard depicting the Futurist Theatre, Scarborough - Courtesy Adrian Spawforth from his wonderful site 'Postcards of Scarborough.'

The Futurist has the distinction of being the fifth largest Theatre in the country outside of London but for many years has been threatened with closure and demolition. In July 2013 plans to redevelop the Theatre's site were rubber stamped despite objections from locals and campaigns to save the Theatre. In November 2013 a petition signed by more than 4,000 people was handed to the Council in an effort to save the Theatre from demolition.

You may like to visit the Theatre's own website here.

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

 

The Palladium Picture House, Foreshore Road, Scarborough

Later - The Arcadia Theatre

 The Arcadia Theatre, formerly the Palladium Picture House, from a programme for 'Catlin's Showtime' at the Arcadia Theatre in 1952 - Courtesy Maria Andrew, Norwich Theatre Royal

Above - The Futurist Cinema and Arcadia Theatre, formerly the Palladium Picture House, from a programme for 'Catlin's Showtime' at the Arcadia Theatre in 1952 - Courtesy Maria Andrew, Norwich Theatre Royal

 A programme for 'Catlin's Showtime' at the Arcadia Theatre in 1952 - Courtesy Maria Andrew, Norwich Theatre RoyalThe Palladium Picture House was originally built as a Cinema in 1912 and was situated next door to Kiralfy's Arcadia Theatre.

When Kiralfy's Arcadia was closed and demolished in 1920 to make way for the building of the Futurist Cinema, the Palladium Picture House was renamed the Arcadia Theatre, and was then used for live theatre until it closed in 1968.

Right - A programme for 'Catlin's Showtime' at the Arcadia Theatre in 1952 - Courtesy Maria Andrew, Norwich Theatre Royal.

The Futurist Cinema next door, which had been being used as a live Theatre since 1957, was expanded in 1968 so that a new larger stage could be built over the site of the Arcadia Theatre, formerly the Palladium Picture House, and that was the end for the Arcadia Theatre.

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

 

A programme for 'Catlin's Showtime' at the Arcadia Theatre in 1952 - Courtesy Maria Andrew, Norwich Theatre Royal

Above - A programme for 'Catlin's Showtime' at the Arcadia Theatre in 1952 - Courtesy Maria Andrew, Norwich Theatre Royal

 

The Aquarium, Scarborough

A Postcard depicting the Scarborough Aquarium - Courtesy Adrian Spawforth from his wonderful site 'Postcards of Scarborough.'

Above - A Postcard depicting the Scarborough Aquarium - Courtesy Adrian Spawforth from his wonderful site 'Postcards of Scarborough.'

The Aquarium, Scarborough was built by Eugenius Birch, in 1877 and was demolished in 1968. The following text is courtesy Lynn Pearson from her book 'The People's Palaces, Britain's Seaside Pleasure Buildings' 1870-1914:

'Birch moved on to design the exotic Indo-Moorish Scarborough Aquarium, which cost £111,000 and opened on Whit Monday 1877. Unlike the Brighton Aquarium, which still exists (though much altered), almost nothing is left of the Scarborough Aquarium, which was sited beneath the Valley Bridge. It covered 2 ¼ acres, was lit by 1,600 gas jets and had a wildly extravagant interior, with long vistas of Moorish arches and much of the decoration based on that of Hindu temples, notably Binderabund, which Birch had used as a model for his Blackpool North Pier Indian Pavilion of 1874. At 36 ft square, one of the tanks was the largest in the world and held 300 tons of water; it was sometimes used for swimming exhibitions. The Aquarium buildings included a concert hall, reading room, dining room and fernery and, with its Japanese theatre and villages, the whole was something of a 19th century theme park. Red, buff and black encaustic tiles with a central hawthorn blossom pattern ornamented the dados, while those used on the floor were patterned with shells, seaweed, starfish and dolphins. Amid this colourful mass of international motifs, English pastoral scenes in oils were intended to add light and interest to the concert hall...

...Despite Birch’s reputation, the Scarborough Aquarium was not a financial success, and it was sold in 1886 to the manager of Blackpool Winter Gardens, William Morgan, for £5,150. Morgan’s policy of charging 6d admission for an entire day’s entertainment made the Aquarium briefly successful. A swimming bath was added in 1893, a theatre in 1907 and a skating rink in 1909, but the crowds stayed away; by 1914 the Aquarium was in the hands of liquidators. Scarborough Council ran the buildings as Galaland between 1925 and 1966, but demolition, and the loss of one of the best of the seaside pleasure palaces, came a few years later..'

Above text in quotes is courtesy Lynn Pearson from her book 'The People's Palaces, Britain's Seaside Pleasure Buildings' 1870-1914.

Arthur Lloyd is known to have performed at the Aquarium, Scarborough in 1886

 

The Alexandra Music Hall, Aberdeen Walk, Scarborough

The Alexandra Music Hall, on Aberdeen Walk, Scarborough was built next to the Old Spa Vaults in 1858.

The exterior consisted of five tall arched windows on the first two levels and a small attic level above with five square windows. There was a wide ornate staircase leading from the left side of the ground floor entrance to the auditorium which was situated on the first and second floor of the building and had one horseshoe shaped balcony which was supported by cast iron columns and had three rows of seating down each side of the auditorium and eight at the rear, neither level was raked and the auditorium was much like many music halls of the period such as Wiltons, or the Britannia, Glasgow.

In 1998 the owners applied for demolition of the building which by then was in a very sorry state. The Theatres Trust along with English Heritage were alerted to the situation and the Hall was hastily Spot Listed Grade II but this didn't stop further applications for demolition in September of the same year.

The Theatres Trust were allowed by the owners to make an inspection of the building but only if they kept their finding quiet until the proposed development was completed. This strange and sorry tale is recorded here.

The above information was gleaned from the Theatres Trust Guide but if you have any more information on this building, or images you are willing to share please Contact me.

Arthur Lloyd is known to have performed in Scarborough in 1867, 1879, 1886 and it is very likely that he appeared at the Alexandra Music Hall but so far I haven't been able to find any proof of this.

 

The Capitol Cine-Variety Theatre, Ablemarle Crescent, Scarborough

Later - Classic Cinema / Mecca Bingo

A Google StreetView Image of the Capitol, Scarborough - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the Capitol, Scarborough - Click to Interact

The Grade II Listed Capitol Theatre on Albermarle Cresent, Scarborough opened on the 11th of March 1929 with a showing of the 1927 silent film 'The Garden of Allah.' Indeed the Theatre opened just before the introduction of sound to early cinema and was equipped with a Fitton & Haley Organ with 2 manuals and 27 stops. The organ was opened by J A. Ainsworth.

The Theatre was built as a large Cine-Variety Theatre and had a large stage with fly tower and an orchestra pit, and dressing rooms for artists but was very rarely used for live productions. The auditorium has a single balcony and a recessed proscenium designed in the Classical style with a Greek / Roman frieze above.

There is a 1960s shot of the exterior of the Capitol here.

The Theatre was taken over by Classic Cinemas in the 1970s and renamed the Classic Cinema, still showing films but with Bingo often being played in the Stalls area. The Theatre then passed into the hands of Mecca Bingo and has been operated by them since 1977.

The Theatre was Listed Grade II in 1996 and the Theatre's organ was removed shortly before this although some parts of it still survive in storage.

In 2013 some work was done to repair the facade of the building when Teracotta blocks were replaced at high level.

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

 

The Pavilion Theatre, Scarborough

The ERA printed a Licence Notice in their 7th of January 1872 edition saying:- 'NEW THEATRE AT SCARBOROUGH - On Friday, the 29th ult., a Special Sessions was held at the Court-house, before the Mayor (Dr. W. F. Rooke), John Haigh, Esq., Alderman Champley, W. Holden, J. F. Sharpin, J. Kirby, and H. Smith, Esqs., when an application was made by Mr. Cornwall, solicitor, on behalf of Mr. W. A. Waddington, Proprietor of the Londesborough Rooms, for a dramatic licence for the new Theatre, to be called the Pavilion. He said that Mr. Waddington had expended a large sum of money in the erection of those premises, and that since they had been open the concerts given there had been attended by most fashionable audiences. He contended, with some earnestness, that the present Theatre Royal was not adapted for the requirements of the time, and that the building for which he applied for a licence would accommodate 1,200 people, and was in every way adapted for first-class entertainments. Mr. Taylor, solicitor, opposed the application, on behalf of Mr. Wybert Reeve, the Lessee of the Theatre Royal, showing the injury that would result to him if such a licence were granted, and read a long letter from that gentleman stating the grounds of his opposition, the principal of which was that the present Theatre was equal to the requirements of the town. The Magistrates, after some consideration of the subject, unanimously granted the licence.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the ERA, 7th of January 1872.

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

 

The Royal Pantheon Music Hall, North Street, Scarborough

The Royal Pantheon Music Hall was situated on North Street, Scarborough, close to the former Theatre Royal. I don't have much information on this one but a small advertisement in the ERA of the 26th of January1868 does give some details saying:- 'Scarborough Royal Pantheon Music Hall, situate close to the Theatre Royal, and within view of the principal thoroughfare, Newborough-street, TO BE LET, on Lease, with immediate possession, consisting of Large Public Hall, 72 feet long by 52 feet wide, recently decorated, warmed with grates and stove; Spacious Gallery; Stage, 25 feet deep by 50 feet wide, with handsome Proscenium, Act Drop, Drop Scenes, and Wings, all newly painted; Orchestra, Twenty Argand-light Gas-float, with Wing and Border Lights; Private Stage-door; Parlour, well fitted-up; Public Bar, with two Four-pull Beer-engines; Cellar and private Dwelling-house. Gas and Water laid on. Show-lamp over principal entrance. Wine and Beer Licence attached. Rent, £3 10s per week, payable weekly. Fixtures to be taken at a fair valuation. Usual prices of admission Reserved Seats, ls. ; Pit. 6d. ; Gallery, 3d. Incoming Tenant to insure Premises, and keep the same in thorough repair, inside and outside, and to pay all expenses of Lease. Apply to William Willow, Broom Lodge, Scarborough.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the ERA 26th of January 1868.

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Archive newspaper reports on this page were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.