The Battersea Palace, 32 York Road, Battersea, London
Formerly - The Washington Music Hall / Standard (Washington) Music Hall / Battersea Palace of Varieties / New Battersea Empire / Battersea Empire / Palace Theatre of Varieties / The Super Palace Cinema
Above - The Auditorium of the Battersea Palace Music Hall - From A Battersea Palace Programme - Courtesy Peter Charlton.
The Battersea Palace was situated on York Road in Battersea, and originally opened as the Washington Music Hall on Friday the 5th of November 1886. The Theatre was situated next door to the Royal Standard Public House, part of which was given up for the Theatre's construction. It was designed by J. W. Brooker and constructed at a cost of £20,000 by G. A. Young for its owner George Washington Moore, hence the Washington name. Moore was well known for his partnership with the Moore and Burgess Minstrels, and he would go on to manage the Theatre for the next 8 years.
The foundation stone for the Theatre was laid by Victoria Moore on the 1st of July 1886 whilst the Theatre was still under construction. After the stone was laid those in attendance were treated to a 'Sumptuous Luncheon' where the Moore and Burgess Minstrels sung the National Anthem and both George Moor and Frederick Burgess addressed the assembly.
Right - A Battersea Palace Music Hall Programme whilst under the ownership of The Macnaghten Vaudeville Circuit - Courtesy Peter Charlton.
In a report on the laying of the Foundation Stone the ERA of the 3rd of July 1886 went on to describe the Theatre now under construction saying:- 'The Washington Music Hall and Theatre of Varieties will be completed about the end of August next. It will accommodate over 900 persons.
The auditorium will consist of a ground-floor space and one tier or gallery, and there will be four private boxes close on the stage. There will be ample exits and entrances. The exit passages will (on the occasion of fire or panic) hold all the audience, for they are spacious and lead straight and direct (and on the same level as the ground floor of the hall) into the street. The ventilation will be arranged in a satisfactory manner, and the comfort of the public will be studied in every respect.
The seating and promenade spaces and refreshment bars are so arranged that the stage is fully in view from every position in the hall. The shape and height of the hall are such as will be most favourable to sound and in accordance with acoustic principles.
The total superficial area of the hall is about 4800ft. The stage will be 40ft. wide and 23ft. deep, and the proscenium opening 28ft. There will be four spacious dressing - rooms, and every convenience for the artists. The orchestra will be placed in a sunk well under the front part of stage.
Refreshment bars will be provided at the rear of the audience on the ground floor, and in the gallery. The advantage of placing these behind the audience being, that the noise of talking there will not disturb the audience and artistes, so much as is the case when the refreshment bars are at the side of audience or near stage.
The decorations will be light cream and ivory colour, heightened with gold, the ornaments being of papier mache. Ample water supply tanks and hydrants will be provided, &c. The lighting will be principally by a large sun-burner, in centre of hall ceiling, and Wenham lamps under the galleries, with metal tubes to carry off the fumes and heat into flues built in the side walls. The building and works are being carried out by Mr G. A. Young, contractor, from the designs, and under the supervision of Mr J. W. Brooker, Architect, London-bridge.'
As it was situated next door to the Royal Standard Public House the Theatre was originally planned to be called the Royal Standard Music Hall, but in the end this name was never used, possibly because it could have been confused with the Royal Standard Music Hall in Victoria. The Theatre was however sometimes known as the Standard (Washington) Music Hall on various occasions until 1900.
In 1900 the Theatre was renamed the Battersea Palace of Varieties but the following year the name reverted back to the Washington Music Hall. In 1902 it was renamed the New Battersea Empire but by 1903 it was known as the more simple Battersea Empire. This name remained until 1908 when the Theatre was renamed the Palace Theatre of Varieties.
In 1917 the Theatre was renamed again, this time to the Battersea Palace, a name it retained until it was renamed The Super Palace in the 1920s when it began operating as a Cine Variety Theatre.
In the 1920s / 1930s the Theatre was taken over by Marcus Bloom and his Father under their Company title 'Super Shows Ltd Ltd'.
The Theatre finally closed in 1958 and then remained dark and derelict until it was eventually demolished in the late 1960s, the site was used for new housing.
Archive newspaper reports on this page were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.
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