Palace Theatre

Saw Close,
Bath, BA1 1EY

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: MacNaghten Vaudeville Circuit

Architects: Charles Long, Oswald Cane Wylson

Firms: Wylson & Long

Styles: Neo-Georgian

Previous Names: Pavilion Theatre, Lyric Theatre, Palace Theatre of Varieties, President Cinema

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Palace Theatre

Located directly across from the Theatre Royal of 1805. The Pavilion Music Hall was opened in 1886. It was re-constructed by architectural firm Wylson & Long in 1895, and re-opened as a live theatre re-named Lyric Theatre. Taken over by the MacNaghten Vaudeville Circuit of variety theatres in 1905, it was re-named Palace Theatre of Varieties. Films were screened as part of the variety programme in the early days, projected from a Bioscope machine. Films were screened until 1919, when it reverted back to variety theatre use, although occasional films were still screened in the 1920’s.

The Palace Theatre was altered in the 1930’s, and was given a single straight balcony. It was closed as a variety theatre in 1955. In 1956, it was converted into the Regency Ballroom, which removed the stage and side boxes in the auditorium. In around 1968, the ballroom closed and was converted into a bingo club. In 1976, while the bingo club was being operated by Zetters, they converted the former upstairs theatre bar into a 53 seat cinema, which was named the President Cinema. This was a 16mm operation, having one show per evening, and operated until the mid-1980’s. A Gala Bingo Club operated in the former Palace Theatre for many years, but it was closed in September 2014 and the auditorium was demolished to build a hotel and casino on the site. The tower and entrance survive in the summer of 2016 and it is not known if they too will be demolished? The Palace Theatre was a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm

A photograph of the former Palace Theatre in June 2009:
Auditorium in January 2011:
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edithapearce on January 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm

I was undertaking relief work at the Forum Cinema in the 1960s and attended the wedding of a fellow Forum projectionist. The reception was held at the Regency Ballroom. The building gave the impression of being an awful example of a 1930’s purpose built ballroom with diabolical acoustics, an inadequate stage for the DJ and an overall air of being poorly maintained and past its sell by date. It did not give an indication of being a former cinema in any way whatsoever.Therefore I was most surprised to learn this evening that it was once a cinema. The Regency was notorious for its Saturday night alcohol free ‘Hops'where the local teenagers met and fought after pre fuelling sessions at the local pubs.

Philip Picturedrome
Philip Picturedrome on August 28, 2017 at 9:52 am

The tower and entrance will be kept.

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