Palace Cinema

Queen's Square,
Rawtenstall, BB4

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Additional Info

Architects: F. Bennett Smith, Alfred Darbyshire

Firms: Darbyshire & Bennett Smith

Styles: Neo-Classical

Previous Names: Grand Theatre, Palace Theatre, Palace Theatre of Varieties

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Located in Rawtenstall, south of Burnley, Lancashire , on a corner site at Queen’s Square. The Grand Theatre was opened in July 1899 with a ‘burlesque’ of “Don Quixote”. It was designed by architectural firm Darbyshire & Bennett Smith. The proscenium was 27 feet wide and the stage 37 feet deep.

Frome the early-1900’s films were being presented as part of the programme. It was granted a Cinematograph Licence in 1910, and became a full time cinema. During World War I 1914-1918 it went back to live theatre use and was re-named Palace Theatre in 1918. It was not a successful theatre, and even a name change to Palace Theatre of Varieties did not help increase business. It was closed in the late-1920’s and was unused until 1932, when it re-opened as the Palace Cinema.

The projection box was at the rear of the stage, so this had a rear projection system. Occasional variety shows were still staged. The Palace Cinema closed in early-1936. It re-opened at Christmas 1936 with a pantomime and variety shows. In January 1937, the Crawshawbooth Operatic Society staged Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado”. This was the buildings final production. It was demolished in February 1938.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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