26 Mount Pleasant,
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Architects: James Tomkinson
Styles: Italian Renaissance
Previous Names: Royal Hippodrome & Picture House
Located on Mount Pleasant at the corner of Mountford Lane, a little out of the town centre of Bilston, to the southeast of Wolverhampton, West Midlands. This was the second Theatre Royal to be built on this site, and it opened on 13th October 1902 with a play “The World’s Desire”. It was designed by Liverpool based architect James Tomkinson. Seating was provided for 1,380, with 600 seats in the pit, 250 seats in the pit stalls, 230 seats in the dress circle and 300 seats in the balcony at its rear. The dress circle extended on each side to a pair of boxes adjacent to the the 26 feet wide proscenium. The stage was 25 feet deep and there were six dressing rooms.
In March 1910, it was granted a Cinematograph Licence, and films began to be screened as part of the variety programmes. In 1912, it was advertised as the Royal Hippodrome & Picture House.
In late-1924 it was taken over by the Woods family who operated as Woods Picture Halls Ltd. They continued to operate the Theatre Royal as a variety theatre. It was modified in 1932 to become a full time cinema and equipped with a British Thomson Houston(BTH) sound system, and it operated as a cinema until at least 1934. Variety theatre use then returned and in 1938, dramatic plays were being staged. During World War II, variety shows returned. By 1944 it had returned to full time cinema use, operated by the C.S. Joseph Circuit.
The Theatre Royal was closed on 18th May 1957 and was put up ‘For Sale’ but failed to meet its auction price. It was purchased by the local council in May 1961 and was demolished between September & December 1961.
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