People's Palace Playhouse
210 Corn Street,
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Previous Names: Electric Palace Cinema, People's Palace Cinema
In Witney, Oxfordshire, on 11th November 1911, Ernest Huddleston opened the Electric Palace, a large matchwood and corrugated iron building at the Curbridge Road end of Corn Street.
There was a gallery. In addition to the films, variety shows were presented on the large stage. The Electric Palace Cinema also had its own orchestra. Its most ambitious live entertainment was a pantomime “Babes in the Wood” in December 1913.
However, when the towns' new Cinematograph Theatre had opened in January 1913 the Electric Palace Cinema had begun making losses. In May 1914, Ernest Huddleston assigned his interest in the business to Witney Electric Theatre Ltd. (proprietors of the new cinema) for £100.
The People’s Palace Playhouse closed the following month. The wooden building was demolished - but not forgotten.
The late Mrs Margaret Jennings, Mr Huddleston’s daughter, planted a tree on the site and placed a commemorative plaque on a small stone memorial.
Houses have since been built on the site, but the plaque and the tree have survived. They can be found a short distance down Corn Street from the roundabout at its junction with Curbridge Road and Welsh Way, on the left, at the entrance to a cul-de-sac near a road sign saying “Corn Street 200-230”.
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