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The Palace Ballroom, Blackpool

Part of the Palace Complex

Blackpool Theatres Index - Blackpool Theatres Article by Donald Auty

The Palace Ballroom - From a 1938 programme for the Winter Gardens Complex

Above - The Palace Ballroom - From a 1938 programme for the Winter Gardens Complex - Caption reads: -'PALACE BALLROOM Pictured by Fortunino Matania, R.I. A paradise for the dancer which one can visit and participate in its joys when visiting the Palace Picture Pavilion or Variety Theatre. Its attractively illuminated floor is an original feature.

The Palace Ballroom was situated within Blackpool's huge and lavish seafront Palace Complex which was next door to the Tower Complex. The Ballroom was a redesign of the former Alhambra Circus by the renowned Theatre Architect Frank Matcham in 1903.

An early postcard depicting the Palace Complex, Blackpool with Harry Lauder on the Bill at the Palace Theatre.

Above - An early postcard depicting the Palace Complex, Blackpool with Harry Lauder on the Bill at the Palace Theatre.

The Circus and whole Alhambra Complex had originaly been designed by Wylson & Long and had first opened in 1899 but had run into financial difficulties soon after opening, and was sold to the Blackpool Tower Company in July 1903. The Tower Company then set about redesigning the building and they reopened the newly designed Frank Matcham designed Ballroom as the Palace Ballroom in July 1904.

The Preston Herald reported briefly on the changes in their 18th of June 1904 edition saying:- 'The Blackpool Palace, which was formerly known as the Alhambra, is to be opened on July 4th. The Alterations include the rearrangement of the Variety Theatre, the substitution of the Ballroom for the old Circus, the conversion of the upper ballroom into a panopticon, and the beautifying of the premises throughout... The Ballroom, which extends in oblong form from the promenade to Bank Hey-street, is modelled and decorated in the Elizabethan style. A full orchestral stage occupies the east side; a balcony runs around the north, west, and south sides, and a gallery is provided at the west end. The walls on the ground floor are encased in mahogany panelling, with carved pilasters and this woodwork is contained along the staircase to forma dado on the balcony. The ceiling is treated in gold and cream and greys with chrome panel paintings, and the balcony walls are fitted with a series of large and handsome mirrors. The old ballroom has been renovated and fitted with the features of a really remarkable exposition. A number of attractions have been arranged in view of the opening.' - The Preston Herald, 18th of June 1904.

A Real Photographic Postcard of the Palace Ballroom, Blackpool

Above - A Real Photographic Postcard of the Palace Ballroom, Blackpool

A Google Streetview image of the site of the Palace Complex today - Click to Interact. The price structuring at the Palace Complex meant that eventually one could pay for a ticket for the Palace Theatre, or the later addition to the building, the 1911 Palace Picture Theatre, and then go to the Palace Ballroom afterwards with the same ticket, making for a very special and reasonably priced evening's entertainment all in the same fabulous building.

Right - A Google Streetview image of the site of the Palace Complex today - Click to Interact.

Sadly the Palace Ballroom, and the whole Palace Complex, was the first of Blackpool's major theatrical venues to be lost, it was closed in 1962 and then demolished to make way for a new Lewis's store which opened in 1964, later to become a Woolworth's in 1993.

The Palace Ballroom and Italian Lounge - A page from a Souvenir Programme for the Tower, Palace, and Grand Theatre, Blackpool - Courtesy Colin Davies.

Above - The Palace Ballroom and Italian Lounge - A page from a Souvenir Programme for the Tower, Palace, and Grand Theatre, Blackpool - Courtesy Colin Davies.

You may also be interested in reading Donald Auty's Blackpool Theatres Article on this site which has more personal information about working Blackpool's Theatres in the 1950s.

If you have any more information or images for the Palace or Alhambra Ballroom that you are willing to share please Contact me.

Other Pages that may be of Interest