Palace Theatre

Summer Hill Road,
Spring Hill,
Birmingham, B1

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd.

Architects: Thomas Ridley Milburn, William Milburn

Styles: Neo-Classical

Previous Names: New Palace Theatre

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Palace Theatre

Located to the west of Birmingham city centre, the Palace Theatre was opened in 1905. It was operated by the Moss Empires Ltd. chain of variety theatres. Unusually for a live theatre, seating was on a stadium plan, with a raised stepped section at the rear, rather than an overhanging balcony. The proscenium was 32 feet wide, and for one of the spectacular stage shows, a large tank of water filled with ‘mermaids’ was one of the features. The auditorium was elaborately decorated, with fibrous plasterwork on the ceiling and side-walls.

From 18th December 1911, it was re-named New Palace Theatre and featured a mix of variety bills on the stage and ‘beautiful motion pictures’ on the screen. The first films screened were "Christmas Carol" and "Tired and Absent Minded Man". It continued as a cine-variety theatre for the Moss Empires chain of theatres for many years.

In the early-1930’s, it was taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain, and reverted back to the Palace Theatre name, becoming a full time cinema.

The Palace Theatre was damaged by German bombs and closed in 1941, and was still listed as being a ‘closed’ ABC cinema in 1947. It was taken over by Bulpit & Sons Ltd, and converted into a factory. By the late-1970’s, the building was unused and ‘For Sale’. It was demolished in 1981, and a factory for Rabone Chesterman Ltd. was built on the site in 1984.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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