Home Page
The Music Hall and Theatre History Website

Home - Index - New - Maps - Contact




The Gaumont Theatre, 44 to 50 Oxford Street, Manchester

Later - Rotters Nightclub

Manchester Theatres Index

 

A small handbill for an All Star Variety show at the Gaumont Theatre, Manchester in January 1941 - Courtesy Tony CraigThe Gaumont Theatre in Manchester's Oxford Street was built as a large and lavish 2,300 seat Cine / Variety Theatre and constructed on part of the site of the former Hippodrome Theatre by the Granada Theatre Circuit. However it was sold to Gaumont British Theatres before it opened, hence the name.

The Theatre was designed by William T Benslyn and James Morrison with an exterior in the Italian Renaissance Style and an interior by the well known Cinema interior designer Theodore Komisarjevsky. It was opened by Jessie Matthews and Sonnie Hale on the 21st of October 1935.

 

Above - A video celebrating the opening of the Manchester Gaumont in 1935. Another video of Doreen Chadwick playing the Mighty Wurlitzer also shows some nice shots of the interior.

Right - A small handbill for an All Star Variety show at the Gaumont Theatre, Manchester in January 1941 - Courtesy Tony Craig, whose mother Jessie Jewel was on the Bill along with Donald Peers who, says Tony, 'wasn't at the height of his fame yet, as he didn't record his biggest hit "In A Shady Nook, By A Babbling Brook" till 1944... and he must have got leave for that Sunday Concert, because he was still in 'The Royal Army Service Corps', (but he entertained the Troops through The War anyway).'

The Theatre's auditorium was on two levels, stalls and one circle, and the stage was 50 foot wide and 23 foot deep so capable of staging all manner of productions. The Theatre was also equipped with its own 4 Manual 14 Rank Wurlitzer organ which also had a grand piano installed and was thought to be one of the best such instruments in Britain.

 

A signed photograph of Stanley Tudor who played the Wurlitzer organ at the opening of the Gaumont Theatre, Manchester in October 1935 - Courtesy Gordon Crook

Above - A signed photograph of Stanley Tudor who played the Wurlitzer organ at the opening of the Gaumont Theatre, Manchester in October 1935 - Courtesy Gordon Crook who says 'The organ console is very much of the later Granada style as used in their many cinemas, also it was a near copy of the Granada Tooting specification.'

The Theatre was very successful right from its opening until its closure in 1974 when it was closed and boarded up. A nightclub called 'Rotters' later took over part of the building, using the ground floor and basement areas, and hanging a false ceiling under the balcony. Rotters closed in 1990 and the Theatre was then demolished and a few years later a multi-storey car park was built on the site.

Right - A Video showing the rise and fall of the Gaumont Cinema, Manchester, and also the Oxford Theatre which was situated next door.

Some of the information on this page was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures website and there is also some interesting information and images about the Gaumont here.

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

 

You may find the following pages from this site of interest: