The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

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The Royal Adelphi Theatre, Christian Street, Liverpool

Formerly - The Christian Street Circus / Olympic Circus / Queen's Theatre / Royal Adelphi Theatre / Adelphi Theatre / Adelphi Music Hall & Theatre of Varieties / Adelphi Cinema

Liverpool Theatres Index

The Liverpool Adelphi Theatre in 1863 - From 'Annals of the Liverpool Stage' by R. J. Broadbent 1908

Above - The Liverpool Adelphi Theatre in 1863 - From 'Annals of the Liverpool Stage' by R. J. Broadbent 1908

Theatreshire Books  - Click to View Inventory

The Adelphi Cinema which some people may still remember today was situated on Charlotte Street, Liverpool. The site of this Cinema had a long and interesting history. It began life in the late 1700s as Livery Stables run by T. Tinker who eventually added a covered ring and ran it as a riding school and also put on equestrian shows there.

The place was taken over by a Mr. Davis in 1803 and he put on all manner of equestrian and Circus acts there intermittently until it was reopened on a more permanent basis in April 1805 as the Olympic Circus. The building was enlarged and much improved by the architect John Foster in 1808 and it ran as such until 1812 when it was taken over by Astley, Davis, and Parker, and reopened in November 1813 as the New Olympic Circus.

For a while in the early 1820s the building was known as Cooke's Olympic Circus when John Cooke and his Equestrian Company were engaged there, Cooke later took over the Lease and ran the venue until 1825 when a sewer burst and the building was flooded with water. Cooke went on to open a new Circus in Great Charlotte Street the following year.

The Christian Street Circus was improved and redecorated after the flood and reopened as the Royal Olympic Circus in December 1825 but was soon in decline due to the opening of Cooke's New Circus in Charlotte Street, so the Olympic was eventually converted into a Theatre and reopened as the Queen's Theatre on the 26th of December 1831 with a production of 'Harlequin Gulliver' with the comedian Harry Beverley playing the main role.

The Queen's Theatre then ran under a succession of different managers for the next 15 years until 1846 when the then owner, Mr. Hammond, had the building extensively altered. The interior was gutted and rebuilt, and the exterior was re-faced in a more ornamental style. The building reopened as the Royal Adelphi Theatre on the 13th of April 1846 with a production of 'Romeo and Juliet'.

The Theatre was taken over by William Scholes Branson in July 1862 who renamed it to the more simple Adelphi Theatre and ran it until 1869 when he retired. During his time there it became well known for its very successful and spectacular drama productions.

Thomas Theodore Heath then took over the Theatre and began putting on variety productions, and would change the name the following year to the Adelphi Music Hall & Theatre of Varieties, managed by Harry De Freece. Drama was reintroduced at the Theatre in the 1870s by Edward Trevanion, but it eventually went over to Twice nightly Variety.

In 1906 or thereabouts the Theatre was converted and used by the Liverpool Gymnastics Club and its Theatre days were over. In 1912 the building was converted for Cinema use and reopened as the Adelphi Cinema.

In 1921 the building was demolished and a new Cinema was built in its place, opening in 1922 as the New Adelphi Cinema, and so it continued until the building was destroyed during the war in November 1940. A visitor to this site, Les Crowder, says:- 'I Was a boy of 11 in the blitz, living and sheltering at home in Rose Hill. The 'Delly' was a very short walk, about 200 yards. It was destroyed by a land mine on 28th / 29th of November 1940 (the 3 day / night blitz). A large piece of twisted steel girder from the cinema landed under our parlour window and our front door was blown off. A Large family in Rose Place called Armstong lost 90% of their total. They left the shelter early thinking the 'All Clear' was imminent.' - Les Crowder.

Some of the information for this Theatre was gleaned from the excellent book 'The Liverpool Stage' by Harold Ackroyd.

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

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