Plaza Cinema

15 Newland,
Lincoln, LN1

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: MacNaghten Vaudeville Circuit

Architects: William Watkins

Styles: Gothic Revival

Previous Names: Empire Music Hall, Palace Theatre

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Built by the Freemasons in 1871, it was designed in a Gothic style by Lincoln based architect William Watkins (the Gothic style Congregational Church was built adjacent in 1876). Seating was provided for 1,500 in orchestra stalls and a balcony, which had side slips containing seats. The auditorium had an ornately decorated curved ceiling. The stage was 30 feet deep. It was used for public entertainment and concerts.

In 1901, alterations were carried out and it became the Empire Music Hall. It was taken over by the MacNaghten Vaudeville Circuit on 6th January 1902, and was re-named Palace Theatre. Modernised in 1905, it became the main variety theatre in Lincoln, and many famous stars appeared here, including Gracie Fields, George Formby and Harry Tate. Newsreel films were screened as part of the programme. The Palace Theatre was closed on 17th May 1930 with the stage revue “Lincoln Calling”.

It was sold to Central Picture Theatres Ltd. and was converted into a cinema after extensive alterations, with the seating capacity was reduced to 1,247. It re-opened as the Plaza Cinema on 26th January 1931 with John McCormick in “Song of my Heart”.

On the night of 23rd May 1943, the Plaza Cinema was destroyed by German bombs, which killed the nightwatchman on duty at that time. The building lay in ruins until 1953 when the remains were demolished. The site was sold to the National Employers General Insurance Co. and they built the current Georgian style office building on the site in 1957.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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