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The Palace Theatre of Varieties, Anlaby Road, Hull

Hull Theatres Index

A photograph of Anlaby Road, Hull showing the Palace Theatre of Varieties in the distance

Above - A photograph of Anlaby Road, Hull showing the Palace Theatre of Varieties in the distance

The Palace Theatre of Varieties, Hull was designed by the renowned Theatre Architect Frank Matcham, with decorations in the Moresque Style by Messrs De Jong, of London. The Theatre opened with a variety show which began with the singing of the National Anthem on Monday the 6th of December 1897 (see programme below). On the Bill for the opening of the new Palace Theatre were the comedienne Nina Bainbridge; the well known music hall performer Gus Elen; the jugler, Salerno; the ballad vocalist Lilian Lea, the' female Stratton' Nellie Christie; comedienne Rosie Elliott; the ventriloquist Captain Slingsby; Phydoras, the musical grotesques; Beatty and Bentley in their specialty 'Darkest Africa'; International Dancers, the Glenroy troup; and the Irish comedians the O'Malleys, all under the control of the acting manager Alfred Graham, and the Theatre manager Alfred Stafford.

The Opening Night Programme for the Palace Theatre, Hull on the 6th of December 1897, printed on Silk

Above - The Opening Night Programme for the Palace Theatre, Hull on the 6th of December 1897, printed on Silk

The ERA reported on the building in their 4th of December 1897 edition saying:- 'Building operations are completed, the magistrates have inspected and approved of the building, and Mr Moss, the managing director of the Liverpool, Leeds, and Hull Empire Co. has been congratulated on the beautiful theatre, which is considered a great acquisition to the town. It only remains to open the doors of latest Palace of Varieties to the public, and this will take place on Monday next.

The Palace is in Anlaby road, and adjoins Hengler's Circus. It has been designed and erected under the personal supervision of the company's architect, Mr Frank Matcham, who is certainly to be congratulated on his latest achievement in theatrical building. The elevation is of a bold, classic design, the entrances to the principal parts being in the centre façade. These are divided by stone columns and pilasters, and over each is a balcony leading to the managers and directors' offices, the whole being surmounted with a large square roof, flanked with groups of statuary representing the Arts, and a centre panel with Drama, and the words "Palace Variety Theatre " in gold letters. A handsome glass and iron shelter is erected along the frontage, and the two wide passages at the side, leading to the pit and gallery, are also sheltered by iron and grass roofs...

The Opening Night Programme for the Palace Theatre, Hull on the 6th of December 1897, printed on Silk

Above - The Opening Night Programme for the Palace Theatre, Hull on the 6th of December 1897, printed on Silk

...On entering through the pairs of polished doors the visitor is at once struck with the originality and grandeur of the design. Two wide staircases, divided by the pay-office, lead from the vestibule (which is richly decorated in Indian design) to a winter gardens on a large and lofty conservatory with a glass and iron roof. In the centre of these gardens there is a fountain playing, and garden seats are surrounded with tall and spreading palms and tropical ferns and flowers. Two wide corridors from the winter gardens lead the visitors past a large smoking saloon - a very cosy apartment - into the balcony, and to the right through a hexagon-shaped crush-room the grand circle is approached, and on this level are six richly draped private boxes.

The whole of the balcony and dress-circle is fitted with velvet tip-up seats, and these are comprised in one large and roomy circle, being the first tier. The stalls are approached through a handsome lounge, and are contained in the first four rows of the ground floor fitted with tip-up seats, and to the right, next the entrance, is a large smoking lounge luxuriously carpeted and decorated, and this affords an excellent view of the stage to those who wish to be moving about in preference to being seated. The pit is a large one and comfortably seated, the front rows being divided off into pit stalls and upholstered in velvet, and the floor carpeted. The gallery, situated over the grand circle and balcony, has the front seats divided off and forms an amphitheatre. This is one of the best parts of the house, and the architect has evidently not forgotten the comforts of the lesser priced seats whilst arranging the luxurious requirements of the stalls and circles.

The building is well protected against fire. Hydrants and other fire extinguishers are to be seen in all necessary positions. There is a fireproof curtain, and, with the wide and numerous exit, any accident from alarm or fire is an impossibility. Every part of the building is heated by hot water, and the sanitary arrangements and ventilation are excellent, the air being brought into the building by fresh air pipes, and extracted through tubes and the large sliding roof, which is fixed in the centre of the auditorium.

The decorations have been made a special feature, and have been carried out by Messrs De Jong, of London, from the architect's Moresque designs. They are very rich and bold in detail, and the artistic panel painting and gilding, which has been executed by Messrs Binns, of Halifax, completes a scheme of decoration which is equal to anything that can be seen in this country. The upholstery has been carried out by Messrs Morton and Sons, of Liverpool, with specially designed draperies to the boxes and stage opening. Handsome tableau curtains complete a very effective scheme. The stage, a large one, is fitted up with the usual machinery, with a large dressing-room block at the rear, containing all conveniences, and is comfortably fitted and furnished.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the ERA, 4th December1897.

The Palace Theatre of Varieties opened on Monday the 6th of December 1897 and was run by the Liverpool, Leeds, and Hull Empire Company whose Managing Director was Horace Edward Moss who would go on to run the giant variety circuit Moss Empires. Arthur Lloyd is known to have performed at the Theatre in 1901 and 1904, and the Arthur Lloyd Trio is known to have performed 'Little Charlie or The Twin Sisters' there in 1905, 1906, and 1911. More information on this can be found below.

A Variety Programme for the Palace Theatre, Hull for November 13th 1905 - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - A Variety Programme for the Palace Theatre, Hull for November 13th 1905 - Courtesy Roy Cross

Details from a Variety Programme for the Palace Theatre, Hull for November 13th 1905 - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - Details from a Variety Programme for the Palace Theatre, Hull for November 13th 1905 - Courtesy Roy Cross. On the Bill were Tarro Myaki, Chas Pastor, The Brothers Obo, Rita & Roma, A. H. Milburn, Dinah Morris and her Troup,Walter Bellonni, The Sisters Iris, The American Bioscope showing 'The Sailors Wedding' and the Frederick Maxwell Company in 'Anarchy'.

The Theatre remained in variety use and occasional film screenings until it was damaged by bombing during the war in 1940. It then remained closed for the next 10 years until it was eventually leased to Kingston Varieties who also owned the Tivoli Theatre in Hull at the time. They repaired and reopened the Palace Theatre in 1951, and then both Theatres ran in unison for a short time, until the Tivoli was turned into a Continental Cinema in 1954, which was not a success, and closed for good the same year and was demolished in 1959.

Later the Palace Theatre operated for several years as a nightspot called the Hull Continental Palace Theatre from 1958, on the lines of the London Talk of the Town, with chairs and tables in the former stalls area, and cabaret style revues presented on its stage. Even this ended in July 1965 however and the Theatre was demolished the following year in 1966. The site of the Theatre then remained empty for the next 20 years until it was finally used for the construction of a block of flats.

Some of the above information is Courtesy Alan Chudley.

Archive newspaper reports for this Theatre were kindly collated and sent in for inclusion by B.F.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

Press cuttings relating to Arthur Lloyd and his Company at the Palace Theatre, Hull - kindly supplied by Peter Burgess

The Palace. (Moss Empires).
Monday 16 December 1901.
George Lashwood. The Beau Brummell of the Halls.
Mary Desmond. Vocalist.
Alice Digby. Vocalist.
Melot Hermann. The Continental Mystifier.
Arthur Lloyd and Daughters, Ivy and Dulcie. The Twin Sisters.
The Ossarellis. Gymnasts.
The Ottaways, Frank and Edith. Bone Soloists.
The Sisters Vanderbilt. Dancers and High Kickers.
Fred E.Terry. Comedian.

Hull Daily Mirror 17/12/01.

Poster for the Arthur Lloyd Trio at the Crouch End Hippodrome in 1907 Click to Enlarge.The audience at the Palace last night was delighted with every turn. George Lashwood the comedian took the foremost place and came in for fresh encomiums. One song that met with particular favour touched on the pathetic side of a soldier's life at the front. Much amusement was caused by Arthur Lloyd and his daughters Lilly and Dulcie in a comedy sketch entitled Little Charlie or the Twin Sisters.

Right - A Poster for the Arthur Lloyd Trio at the Crouch End Hippodrome in 1907 Click to Enlarge.

Melot Herman's conjuring was of an uncommonly high order. As descriptive bone soloists the Ottoways (Frank and Edith) are very smart and they had to reappear. Mary Desmond had a good voice and scored well as a ballad vocalist; Fred E.Terry provoked much laughter as an eccentric comedian. The Sisters Vanderbilt are clever high kickers and dancers; the Ossarellis are neat gymnasts and Alice Digby had a good stock of songs.

Monday 18 January 1904.
The Caledonian Boys. Musicians.
Brown and Robinson. Bricklayer Vocalists.
Edward and Espinosa. Dancers.
Frobel and Ruge. Comedy Aerialists on the Revolving Pole.
Mabel Hind. Japanese Scena.
Arthur Lloyd and Co. Twin Sisters.
Slade Murray. Comedian.
Kitty Traney with her Pony and Dog. Magician.
Charles Vincent. Comedian.

Hull Daily News.

Review of The Twin Sisters 1902 at the London Pavilion - Click for information on this TheatreMr.Graham has again engaged an exceptional company at the Palace. There is something to amuse everyone. The Caledonian Boys are well-known in Hull and their clever orchestral and vocal selections proved immensely popular. Mr. George Newburn, a mimic of other artistes scores a decided success in his own line, one or two of his impersonations being done with considerable ability. Mention must also be made of Miss Kitty Traney's ponies and dogs and Mabel Hind who sings and dances prettily.

Right - A Review of The Twin Sisters in 1902 at the London Pavilion - Click for information on this Theatre.

Tuesday 26 December 1905.
Kelley and Ashley. The Bounding Billiardists.
The Finneys (James and Marie). Swimmers.
The Neilson Sisters. Dancers.
Hans Hansein Trio. Acrobats.
Hardinis. Musician.
Princess Pauline. Comedienne.
The Arthur Lloyd Trio. The Twin Sisters.
Lydia and Albino. Gymnasts.
Horace White. Ventriloquist.

Hull Daily Mirror.

Those who went late to the Palace last evening found standing room only. A great holiday crowd filled every seat, and many were contented to stand. a holiday spirit seemed to be abroad, and with the entertainment well chosen an enjoyable evening was inevitable. A distinct novelty this week are Kelley and Ashby, who rightly describe themselves as the bounding billiardists. The billiard table is certainly the opposite too the article with a slate bed. It is similar to a spring mattress covered with green cloth. With the help of the powerful springs the two perform some very clever feats which are all the more acceptable because they are spiced with humour.

Review for The Twin Sisters in 1906 - Click for details of Sheffield's Theatres.Another novel show is that given by the Finneys (James and Marie) in a glass tank full of water. One of the cleverest and most difficult feats was that of James Finney who picked up over 60 coins with his mouth from the bottom of the tank. He also succeeded in remaining under the water for two minutes in which time the average person would probably drown.

Right - A Review for The Twin Sisters in 1906 - Click for details of Sheffield's Theatres.

Visitors will also be favourably impressed with one of the best animated picture series that has been seen in Hull. It is in twelve tableaux, the films artistically coloured and the story illustrates the pretty legend of the hen that laid the golden egg.

Lydia and Albino give a smart gymnastic performance, the effect being heightened with dazzling electrical effects and festoons of roses. As a ventriloquist Horace White is one of the best of his class, one of his figures (representing a well-dressed young lady) being life-like. In addition to these entertainers the management have also secured the services of the Neilson Sisters, the Hans Hansein Trio, Hardine, Princess Pauline, in addition to Arthur Lloyd Trio who produce a laughable playlet The Twin Sisters.

Hull Daily News 27/12/05.

The Palace Theatre was crowded in every part at both performances last evening and the pleasure seekers found an excellent entertainment awaiting them. Kelly and Ashby who describe themselves as the bounding billiardists, head the bill of fare. They dispense with the cues and balls, but on the bed of the table, which is made of India rubber, they give an excellent acrobatic performance.

The Finneys (James and Marie) are as popular as ever and their aquatic exhibition delighted the audience. The best tricks of these artistes was picking up 61 coins by the mouth and sleeping and floating under water.

Lydia and Albino give a very clever gymnastic performance, which is aided by electrical effects. Another acrobatic act by Hans Hansen Trio is very pleasing. Princess Pauline, comedienne, soon established herself as a favourite by her singing.

The Neilson Sisters are smart dancers and the Hardinis are a very fine musical turn. Horace White is a ventriloquist of more than average ability and the sketch Twin Sisters, which is performed by the Arthur Lloyd Trio, caused some amusement. The hen that laid the golden eggs in twelve tableaux was presented by the American bioscope.

Advertisement for the Arthur Lloyd Trio at the London Hippodrome in 1911.

Above - Advertisement for the Arthur Lloyd Trio at the London Hippodrome in 1911.

Monday 19 November 1906.
Fred Kitchen and Co. Moses and Sons.
Hall and Earle. Eccentric Comedians.
The Arthur Lloyd Trio (Arthur, Lili and Dulcie). Sketch Artistes.
Techow's Cats. Speciality Act.
Daisy O'Malley. Comedienne and Dancer
The Horne Brothers. The Biter Bit.
Harry Carsdale. Imitator of Dogs and Farmyard Animals.
Charles Pastor. Comedian.

Hull Daily Mirror. 20/11/1906.

The Palace on Monday night was packed in every corner and many could not find seats in any part of the house were content to stand. The attraction was Mr. Fred Kitchen in his latest creation Moses and Son, but the other fare is also good and the applause from the overflowing house was at times like a prolonged rattle of thunder. Mr. Kitchen this time is a caretaker at the bank of Moses and Sons and by some extraordinary means is left in charge of the entire establishment. There are "gold" and "notes" galore and Kitchen generously disposes of them to callers. One is an old woman who comes in tears. What would Moses do in this case? He asks. Kitchen solves the problem by filling her apron with "gold" to "get a loaf" with the injunction to come back in the afternoon if the supply runs out. His very look is comical, but his antics amongst typewriters, office stools and telephones in the bank sent some of the audience almost into convulsions. In the third scene, which is presented amidst a dazzling display of electric lights, Mr. Kitchen is seen in a different role, for when he is ordered to leave the ballroom at the Moses mansion he is quite dramatic in conventional evening dress. Moses and Son is well put on by a full company.

The programme is well balanced. Techow's Cats are wonderful felines and did some clever tricks. The Arthur Lloyd Trio, (Arthur, Lili and Dulcie) presented a refined and amusing sketch, the fun being occasioned by the two ladies in the trifle being exactly alike.

Hall and Earle amused with their eccentricity, whilst Horne Brothers must be given a foremost place. There is an interesting little turn up with the gloves, the sketch being aptly termed The Biter Bit . Harry Carsdale succeeded in imitating dogs and the occupants of the farmyard splendidly and Charles Pastor's humour as a comedian was certainly above the average. Daisy O'Malley, comedienne and dancer and the Bioscope with a couple of remarkable pictures, completed the programme.

Monday 21 August 1911.

Mark Sheridan. One of the B'hoys.
Lily Burnard. Burlesque Actress.
Frank Couch. Comedian.
The Eight Empire Girls. Vocalists and Dancers.
The Arthur Lloyd Trio. Little Charlie.
Ouida Macdermott. Vocalist.
The Martialo Trio. Jugglers.
George Young. The Blind Musician.

Hull Daily News 22/08/1911.

Although not a big-letter turn, George Young blind musician and concertina soloist was rewarded last night by an outburst of applause that would gratify any star and although the scene was changed for the succeeding turn, the audience insisted upon a recall which was eventually given.

Mark Sheridan otherwise One of the B'hoys was as humorous as ever. The patter, which accompanies his songs, was highly diverting. Mark proving very funny with a description of an alleged walk on account of the strike, from Leeds to Hull on Sunday.

Little Charlie, a sketch provided by the Arthur Lloyd Trio, is one long laugh, the fun being caused by a short-sighted husband mistaking a twin sister for his wife. Some sensational juggling and balancing was shown by the principal of the Martialo Trio, one of the feats being accompanied by an offer of £25 to anyone in the audience who could do likewise.

The Eight Empire Girls contributed some catchy songs, whilst the dancing was quite a feature of their entertainment. As a burlesque actress Lily Burnard scored well, her costumes being novel and striking. Ouida Macdermott pleased greatly with two bright and breezy songs and Frank Couch was a smart patter comedian. A humorous film on the Bioscope wound up an excellent programme.

Press cuttings concerning Arthur Lloyd and the Palace Theatre were kindly sent in by Peter Burgess.

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