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The East Ham Palace Theatre, High Street North, East Ham, London

Later - The New Regal Palace Cinema / The Regal Palace Theatre

The East Ham Palace Theatre and Station - From a Postcard.

Above - The East Ham Palace Theatre and Station - From a Postcard.

Variety Programme for the East Ham Palace on August the 28th 1950. The Palace Theatre in East Ham's High Street North, was designed by the Theatre Architects Wylson & Long, who also designed the Chelsea Palace Theatre, the Euston Palace of Varieties, the Tottenham Palace of Varieties, the Alhambra Theatre, Blackpool, and the Empire Theatre, Bristol amongst many others.

Right - A Variety Programme for the East Ham Palace for August the 28th 1950. See cast details below.

The Theatre opened on Monday the 17th of December 1906 and the ERA reported on the occasion in their 22nd of December 1906 edition saying:- 'There was quite a buzz of excitement in the thickly-populated district of East Ham on Monday evening, and crowds assembled in the vicinity of the new theatre of varieties, which has been erected on a plot of land close to the East HAM railway station.

Monday was the opening night, and though the inaugural proceedings were of the briefest nature, the local population was evidently determined to give the new venture in the way of providing entertainment for the people a good send-off. And so they crowded at both houses into pit and gallery, and great was their admiration of the fine appearance of the interior of the building.

An advertisement for the opening of the East Ham Palace - From The ERA, 15th December 1906.Externally, the front of the house is of red brick and Portland stone, with a bright beacon light at the S.W. end, which adds materially to the imposing and impressive appearance.

Left - An advertisement for the opening of the East Ham Palace - From The ERA, 15th December 1906.

Entering through the handsome vestibule, a short, broad flight of steps gives entrance through a double archway to the box-office hall. Here are the stalls entrance and the main entrance to the balcony. This is a fine feature in blue Beige and rouge griotte marble, with Swedish vert-de-mer balustrading and dove-coloured Napoleon marble dado. To the right of the box-office is the stalls corridor.

Variety Programme for the East Ham Palace on August the 28th 1950. In the stalls the seating consists of thirteen rows of tip-up armchairs, on a richly-carpeted floor, at a slope fully commanding the stage. The house is divided into stalls, pit-stalls, pit, balcony, and gallery, and affords seating capacity for 2000. There are also four large boxes, tastefully and luxuriously furnished.

Right - A Variety Programme for the East Ham Palace for August the 28th 1950. On the Bill were The Windsorettes, Syd Jackson, The Harmaniacs, Fayne & Evans, Dorothy Ward, Percy Rich & Eva, Grace Mars, Harry Secombe, and The Krazy Komedy Kirks.

The large panelled ceiling and cove have been beautifully treated with artistic paintings, to which the rest of the decorations, which are in the Renaissance style, with predominating tints of cinnamon, form an appropriate setting. The interior generally has been treated architecturally with stately Corinthian columns, carrying a full emblature above the proscenium opening, and over the boxes.

An advertisement for the opening of the East Ham Palace - From The Referee, 16th December 1906.The construction of the theatre is as fire resisting as it is possible to make it. The crimson velvet drop-curtain, with its wealth of folds, falls gracefully on either side of the stage, its rich colour vividly enhancing the general scheme.

Left - An advertisement for the opening of the East Ham Palace - From The Referee, 16th December 1906.

The seats on the tip-up principle are covered with the same costly material, and are in unison with the exquisite pile carpet. The orchestra well is sunk below the stage, and is capable of accommodating twenty musicians. The exits are numerous, and conveniently situated, and the doors are fireproof. Two noble domes - one on either side of the auditorium - still further enhance the general effect. The auditorium is 64ft. wide and 86ft. from curtain line to back wall of auditorium, and 55ft. from pit floor to ceiling. The house is being run on the two-houses-nightly system, performances commencing at 6.30 and 9 o'clock.

The new Palace reflects the utmost credit upon the skill of the architects, Messrs. Wylson and Long, while at the same time mention should be made of the admirable decorative work carried out by Mr. J. M. Bookbinder. The upholstery has been supplied by Messrs. Sholbred, and the seating is by Mr. J. S. Lyon; the mere mention of the names of these well-known firms is a sufficient guarantee that everything is satisfactory in these important departments. The act-drop, representing a classical subject, is a clever and effective study in colours; and Mr. Francis Bull has also furnished some very pretty sets.

Mr. George Adney Payne, the managing-director of the syndicate having control of the variety theatres to the list of which the East Ham Palace is the latest addition, was present; and Mr. Arthur J. Barclay, who has been appointed manager, appeared on the stage before the programme proper was started in the first house, and in a few brief words gave a hearty welcome to the audience. Mrs. Geo. Adney Payne then sang the National Anthem with her usual charm of manner, and the opening ceremony was at an end. Mr. W. S. Bassett, formerly of the Granville, Walham Green, is the experienced musical-director. Mr. Albert E. Hill is the assistant-manager, and Mr. John Grant stage-manager...

A Variety programme for the East Ham Palace dated October 14th 1946 - Courtesy Malcolm Chapman

A Variety programme for the East Ham Palace dated October 14th 1946 - Courtesy Malcolm Chapman

Above - A Variety programme for the East Ham Palace dated October 14th 1946 - Courtesy Malcolm Chapman - On the Bill were Gale & Pat Ross, Bijou & Freda, Jack Anton, Erikson, Peter Waring, Walton's Marionettes, Don Carlos, Hatton & Manners, and Ravel.

...The opening programme gave every satisfaction. Miss Florence Yeaman, American coon burlesque artist, was well received; Sibb and Sibb, trapeze artists, gave an exhibition of their skill, and were greeted with deserved applause; Mr. Tom Leamore, the favourite comedian, was welcomed with a round of applause, and opened with "What a fool I was to marry 'Liza," his amusing narrative of the wedding being received with shouts of laughter. He next appeared in the guise of a park-keeper, whose experiences furnished more food for mirth. The Stella Troupe consists of a number of young ladies, who on the rise of the curtain are found to be occupants of swings, and, thus pleasantly occupied, sing a chorus song with much acceptance. They also give a lively song and dance, and their success is beyond doubt. Mr. Gilbert Gerard is a remarkably clever mimic of animals, Ac. He gives some wonderful imitations of various denizens of the farmyard, but probably his most realistic imitation is that of the lions at the Zoo what time they are being fed. One has only to shut one's eyes to imagine that they are in the lions' house at the famous Regent's Park establishment.

The dramatic episode entitled Nell Gwyn, the Orange Girl was played by Miss Dolly Elsworthy and company. This well-staged and picturesque sketch recalls in vivid style the days of King Charles II. and his gallant courtiers. Miss Dolly Elsworthy as Nell Gwyn represents the saucy orange girl with delighted piquancy, and her utter disregard for the conventional attitude in the presence of Royalty is a most amusing feature of the sketch. Mr. R. Purdie was a right gallant King Charles, with an eye for a pretty girl. Mr. J. H. Ash was good as the Duke of Buckingham; Mr. A. Howard was a manly Dick Hamden; and Miss C. Rivers did well as Mother Gwyn.

Carlton's wonderful illusion, "The Mysterious Cross," was, of course, a source of mystification; and the mimicry of Clarice Mayne received due recognition, The Two Whites, comedy artists, also contributed; and Ruffell's Imperial Bioscope was an additional attraction. Amongst those present at the opening on Monday were Mr. Walter Gibbons and several other people prominent in the variety world.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the ERA, 22nd of December 1906.

The East Ham Place opened on Monday the 17th of December 1906 with the above reported variety production. And the Theatre would become part of the VTC Circuit (United Variety Consolidated Theatres). The Theatre was later purchased by Victor Sheridan who converted it for Cinema use as the New Regal Palace Cinema, opening on the 11th of September 1933 with a showing of the film 'King Kong' along with a variety show on its stage. The venture wasn't the success that Sheridan had hoped for however, due to the competition from many other large Cinemas operating in the surrounding area, and it was closed in December 1935. The closure as a Cinema however, brought the former Theatre back to full time live theatrical use again as the Regal Palace Theatre, although it still showed films on Sundays when live performances were still banned. The Theatre then continued in this use, later called the East Ham Palace again, see programmes below, until it was finally closed in 1958 for demolition and the construction of a C&A clothing store on its site.

  • Little Bo Peep, East Ham Palace, January 10th 1955.
  • Little Bo Peep, East Ham Palace, January 10th 1955.
  • Little Bo Peep, East Ham Palace, January 10th 1955.
  • Little Bo Peep, East Ham Palace, January 10th 1955.
  • Here Come The Girls! East Ham Palace, August 18th 1952.
  • Here Come The Girls! East Ham Palace, August 18th 1952.
  • Here Come The Girls! East Ham Palace, August 18th 1952.
  • Here Come The Girls! East Ham Palace, August 18th 1952.
  • Memories of Jolson, East Ham Palace, September 6th 1954.
  • Memories of Jolson, East Ham Palace, September 6th 1954.
  • Memories of Jolson, East Ham Palace, September 6th 1954.
  • Memories of Jolson, East Ham Palace, September 6th 1954.
  • Mystery Box Review East Ham Palace, March 19th 1951.
  • Mystery Box Review East Ham Palace, March 19th 1951.
  • Mystery Box Review East Ham Palace, March 19th 1951.
  • Mystery Box Review East Ham Palace, March 19th 1951.
  • Variety Show, East Ham Palace, March 26th  1951.
  • Variety Show, East Ham Palace, March 26th  1951.
  • Variety Show, East Ham Palace, March 26th  1951.
  • Variety Show, East Ham Palace, March 26th  1951.
  • Little Bo Peep, East Ham Palace, January 10th 1955.
  • Little Bo Peep, East Ham Palace, January 10th 1955.
  • Little Bo Peep, East Ham Palace, January 10th 1955.
  • Little Bo Peep, East Ham Palace, January 10th 1955.
  • Here Come The Girls! East Ham Palace, August 18th 1952.
  • Here Come The Girls! East Ham Palace, August 18th 1952.
  • Here Come The Girls! East Ham Palace, August 18th 1952.
  • Here Come The Girls! East Ham Palace, August 18th 1952.
  • Memories of Jolson, East Ham Palace, September 6th 1954.
  • Memories of Jolson, East Ham Palace, September 6th 1954.
  • Memories of Jolson, East Ham Palace, September 6th 1954.
  • Memories of Jolson, East Ham Palace, September 6th 1954.
  • Mystery Box Review East Ham Palace, March 19th 1951.
  • Mystery Box Review East Ham Palace, March 19th 1951.
  • Mystery Box Review East Ham Palace, March 19th 1951.
  • Mystery Box Review East Ham Palace, March 19th 1951.
  • Variety Show, East Ham Palace, March 26th  1951.
  • Variety Show, East Ham Palace, March 26th  1951.
  • Variety Show, East Ham Palace, March 26th  1951.
  • Variety Show, East Ham Palace, March 26th  1951.

Above - A Selection of East Ham Palace Programmes from 1951 to 1955 - 'Little Bo Peep' 1955, 'Here Come The Girls' 1952, Memories of Jolson' 1954, Mystery Box Review' 1951, and a Variety Show with Frankie Vaughan in 1951 - Programmes Courtesy Brian Henson, Peter Quin, and David Wyatt. Brian Henson writes 'I was a frequent visitor to the East Ham Palace during the 1950s. I was still at school until 1955, but my parents took me to many West End theatres, and often to the East Ham Palace, which was our local variety Theatre, living as we did (and I still do) in Ilford.

Alan Chudley writes on a funny story from the East Ham Palace saying:- 'Some years ago, a new pair of Tormentors were required by the East Ham Palace Theatre, and were made in the scenic dock of the Chelsea Palace theatre. When the carpenter had built these, he arranged for them to be transported to East Ham and telephoned the East Ham Palace to request that staff be available at 10.30 the next morning to receive the said Tormentors.

On arrival at East Ham the carpenter was amazed to find the Theatre ship shape and Bristol fashion - unusual for the East Ham Palace - and the staff in their Sunday best Togs.

"A bloody fine time to bring those," ranted the stage manager, "We are expecting the VTC ( Variety consolidated Theatres) directors at any moment."

What had happened is that the girl in the box office had taken the telephone call about the arrival of the Tormentors and informed the staff that the Theatre's directors were coming to inspect the theatre at 10.30 the next morning.'

The above text in quotes is from an article written for this site by Alan Chudley on the Theatre Royal, Guildford.

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