Queen’s Theatre Bridge Street Manchester
The new theatre was built on the site of Hayward’s Hotel which in the early Victorian period had become well known for its musical and other entertainments. In December 1862 the hotel was converted into the London Music Hall, later the Royal Amphitheatre and Circus. In the creation of the new theatre it had been found necessary to demolish a considerable portion of the old building and take in additional land at the back on which some old cottages previously stood. In August 1890 the theatre was severely damaged by fire. It reopened on 28 March 1891, following extensive rebuilding, finally closing in 1911 when the lease expired
THE NEW QUEENS THEATRE – The architect, Mr E Salomons, who has had considerable experience in theatrical architecture, has overcome many difficulties, and nothing can be more complete than the transformation the building has undergone. There are three entrances, all from Bridge Street – one being to the dress tier, another to the pit and the other to the gallery. Access to the pit is obtained through a good entrance, 20 feet wide, in which there are two doorways. Both doors will be thrown open as the means of exit; only one, however, is intended as an entrance to this department of the theatre. This arrangement will enable 1,300 or 1,400 people, (the number which the pit will accommodate), to pass out of the building in less than three minutes. The pit audience, excepting those who desire to stand in the promenade, will be seated on benches. The dress tiers are placed next above the pit, and will be furnished with comfortable chairs for the use of 250 visitors; and in the promenade at the back there is standing room for 150 more. A staircase six feet wide gives access to a spacious gallery, capable of accommodating about 80 persons.
Viewed from the stage the theatre is of a novel shape. The object which the architect had in view was to afford a better sight to a greater number than he could have done had he adopted the usual circular form in designing the dress tier and the gallery. The sides gradually slope inwards towards the stage, and branch off from a considerable breadth of front seats. The circular shape would doubtless have had a better effect; but by adopting the new arrangement, the architect has obtained room for the largest number of seats possible. The tiers and gallery are fronted by ornamental scrollwork, richly gilt and coloured and upon crimson satin ground. The proscenium is 30 feet square, and has been coloured in harmony with the ceiling and the rest of the house. The stage is 42 feet deep from the footlights to the wall, and 75 feet wide. The refreshment rooms, the dressing rooms, etc., all of which have been provided are matters of detail which need not be described. Messrs Neill and Sons are the contractors for the building and the decorations have been carried out by Messrs Edmundson and Pollitt. [Manchester Guardian 4 November 1870 page 4]
Reference Manchester Guardian 4 November 1870 page 4
Reference Manchester Guardian 5 November 1870 page 8 – theatrical licence
Reference Manchester Guardian 7 November 1870 page 4 – opening performance
Reference Builder 12 November 1870 Page 909