The Lyceum Theatre, Manchester
Yet another vintage theatre awaiting its fate local to me. Unlike the Hulme Hippodrome, this theatre is in an extreme state of decay and its difficult to think what could be done to save it. Apparently even the front facade - which looks from the outside to be sound - is even in danger of toppling over.
Inside is a veritable death trap. Geting up as high as we did to take the photographs took some real courage and skilled footwork. It certainly seems that at any point the whole of the insides could simply crumble at any point.
There is a campaign which hopes to save the theatre and I wish them luck. Their website can be found here although at the time of writing, the website was down. Ill post a link here anyway:
Designed by local architects Campbell & Horsley, the theatre was originally called the Lyceum Theatre and was opened on Thursday, February 23, 1899.
The auditorium has three tiers supported by four columns. The fire curtain was embossed with the Bourough of Eccles Heraldic emblem.
The proscenium surround is decorated to represent Shakespeare’s "Seven Ages of Man" The frontage is quite ornamental in Accrington brick and terracotta.
In March 1899, the Eccles public were treated to a ten minute bioscope presentation, "The Spanish Bull Fight". Originally, the theatre’s owners intended a more cultural entertainment of Shakespeare and operettas, however by 1900 the theatre began to put on variety and novelty acts.
In 1907, the theatre changed ownership and was renamed the Crown Theatre. In 1932 the Crown Theatre became a cinema, just in time for the "talkies" By 1937 it had become part of the H.D. Moorhouse Circuit.
In 1955, the Crown Theatre became part of the Snape Circuit and continued showing films until 1963 when it became the inevitable bingo house.
It closed around 2000 and has been shuttered ever since. Sadly, this building isn’t even listed by the local authority; Salford Council.
The building was listed in 2003 after Ty Jeffries began lobbying the council to have the building protected in order to prevent it from being developed into flats.
After a short campaign, the building was classed as a Grade II listed building, with English Heritage noting that “the Crown Theatre is a rare surviving example of a suburban working-class theatre that still retains the original form of its auditorium and front of house”.
Despite those plans being stopped, there have been many proposed attempts to turn the building into housing, the most notable being as part of the Salford City Council’s Liverpool Road Corridor 10 Year Strategy (2007-17).