Building Name

Trocadero Cinema Southport (Reconstruction of the Palais de Danse, 1925).

Merseyside, England
New Build
Grade II
Tomkinson and Sons Limited. Liverpool

The new Garrick Theatre in Lord Street, Southport, has been designed on strictly modern lines both with regard to the elevations and the internal fittings. The entrance vestibule has a travertine marble floor and the walls are of polished black plate glass divided by chromium plated bands. The ceiling is of polished black opalite, relieved by two specially designed light fittings. Beyond this entrance hall is the grand foyer, leading to the stalls and circle. At a lower level, and underneath the pit, is the grand corridor, leading to the front stalls. The stalls corridor is a pleasing feature, with its circular promenade, lighted from the ceiling with tinted and ribbed glass tubular fittings. Two cloakrooms are provided here and the stalls refreshment bar is adjoining. The auditorium is bell-shaped and has a depressed dome in the ceiling. The accommodation on the ground floor is approximately 900, and in the circle 700. Great care has been given to the acoustics of the building, special acoustic material having been used for this purpose. The stage is 93 feet wide, 43 feet deep and 60 feet high. A Astar@ suite, 30 large dressing rooms, bathrooms, and large chorus rooms have been provided. The whole stage and the dressing rooms are protected with automatic fire sprinklers. A roof garden which is approached from the upper circle foyer, is a special feature. - report continues with full list of sub-contractors [Builder 24 February 1933 Page 324]

After the Opera House burned down in December 1929, the site was cleared and George E. Tonge prepared plans for a new theatre which opened on 19th December 1932. The Garrick Theatre initially operated as a live venue only. The theatre was well proved with front of house space and had a spacious auditorium on two levels (plus boxes) seating 1,600 (later reduced to 1,500). The original colour scheme was yellow and gold with green and black highlights, all lighting was indirect via troughs except for a chandelier in the centre of the balcony recess. There are four boxes on either side of the stage. The stage was designed to accommodate touring drama, musicals opera and ballet. The proscenium arch was 50 feet wide. The theatre was advertised as the most beautiful in Europe upon opening.

In 1957 it was sold to the Essoldo Cinemas group and the follow spot box was converted into a projection suite. The Essoldo continued to present both live shows and films after 1957, until its closure on 16th November 1963. The building was converted into a Lucky 7 bingo club (later Top Rank and Mecca).

Reference           Builder 24 February 1933 Page 324, description; 327, exterior view; 328, auditorium and circle lounge; 329, ground floor plan; 330 stalls foyer and view from circle.
Reference           Design for Garrick Theatre, Lord Street, Southport.  perspective by Cyril Farey, 1931 [PA788/3]  TONGE G [RIBA Collection of drawings]