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The Queen's Theatre, Bridge Street, Manchester

Formerly - The London Music Hall / The Royal Amphitheatre & Circus / The New Queen's Theatre

See Also: The Queen's Theatre, Spring Gardens and The New Queen's Theatre, Quay Street

Manchester Theatres Index

The Queen's Theatre, Bridge Street, Manchester, built on the site of the former London Music Hall and Royal Ampitheatre in 1891 - Courtesy David Huxley.

Above - The Queen's Theatre, Bridge Street, Manchester, built on the site of the former London Music Hall and Royal Ampitheatre in 1891 - Courtesy David Huxley.

A Music Hall Poster for the London Music Hall, Manchester in 1864. - Poster from a private collection and kindly sent in for inclusion on the site. The Queen's Theatre, Bridge Street, Manchester, first opened on the 5th of November 1870 as the 'New Queen's Theatre' with a production of 'Insured at Lloyd's'. The Theatre was a reconstruction of the former London Music Hall, (See Poster Right), later the Royal Amphitheatre & Circus, and was built as a replacement for the former Queen's Theatre, Spring Gardens, which had been demolished in 1869.

Right - A Music Hall Poster for the London Music Hall, Manchester in 1864. On the Bill were The Sisters Gillbee Glifford, Mr and Mrs St John, The Brothers Pentland, Mr T Crossling, and Tibbets & Hamilton. Also advertising the following week with a Benefit for the Sisters Gillbee Gifford and Sam Collins. Poster from a private collection and kindly sent in for inclusion on the site.

The ERA reported on the Theatre's opening in their 13th of November 1870 edition saying:- 'This house, which has now taken its position as the third place of permanent legitimate theatrical entertainment in Manchester, opened its doors for the first time on Saturday last, the 5th instant. The old Queen's Theatre, the site of which is now covered with warehouses was finally closed on March 16th, 1869, and its earliest successor was the Amphitheatre in Bridge-street, a large building which bad been used variously as a Music Hall and a Circus. This place was, however, so ill-adapted for dramatic entertainments that, after a short and unfortunate season, it was closed; but sufficient enterprise being forthcoming, the services of Mr. E. Salomons were called into requisition, and a new and properly-constructed Theatre formed on the site - we might almost say within the walls of the old building - for the exterior presents scarcely any change from that of the old London Music Hall and Amphitheatre.

The new Theatre is exceedingly spacious, and will, probably accommodate, when the necessity arises, three thousand persons. The auditorium is almost triangular in shape and arrangement, which provides every spectator with a good view of the stage, and divided into dress circle, pit, and gallery, there being no private boxes, stalls, or upper circle. The pit is computed to seat twelve hundred, the gallery eight hundred, and the dress circle nearly three hundred, there being an ample promenade round the former and latter.

The decorations, by Messrs. Edmundson and Pollett, are of white and gold moulding on crimson satin, and have a very brilliant and beautiful effect. The sunlight is by Mr. Hayworth, and the upholstery by Mr. Standage. The proscenium is of very handsome design, and resembles a massive gilded picture frame, enclosing the act-drop, from the pencil of Mr. T. Grieve, which has an Italian landscape for its subject.

The proscenium is 30ft. in width and the same in height. Mr. J. R. Chapman, of the London and Glasgow Theatres, has constructed the stage and the mechanical appliances. The dimensions of the former are 45ft. in depth, and 75ft. in with, and the cellarage and flies afford every facility for sinking or raising the scenery.

On the opening night a very large audience assembled, though the great area of the pit was not entirely occupied. Much enthusiasm was manifested, and when shortly after seven, the curtain rose on the company, who, according to time-honoured custom, had assembled to sing the National Anthem, there was much cheering, the solos being taken by Mrs, F. B. Egan, Miss Etty Morris, and Miss Read.'

The above text in quotes (edited) was first published in the ERA, 13th November 1870.

A Watercolour of the Queen's Theatre, Bridge Street, Manchester by George Richmond, February 2017. The painting has been created from a photograph in the book 'Red Plush and Gilt' by Joyce Knowlson.

Above - A Watercolour of the Queen's Theatre, Bridge Street, Manchester by George Richmond, February 2017. The painting has been created from a photograph in the book 'Red Plush and Gilt' by Joyce Knowlson. Click for an Index to all of George Richmond's Paintings on this site.

The ERA, much later, published an article on the history of the Queen's Theatre in their 4th of January 1896 edition saying:- 'The Queen's Theatre in Bridge-street has had a checkered career. Originally an hotel, its history as a place of amusement dates from the time when Dr. Marks and his "little men" gave some very clever musical entertainments there. Mr Helliwell, [sic] the india rubber manufacturer, reconstructed the building to serve the purposes of "The London Music Hall." Further alterations transformed the building into a circus and amphitheatre, and Mr Garcia, its lessee, subsequently succeeded in getting the place licensed for the performance of stage plays, and the first piece enacted under the new order was Formosa.

When Mr Helliwell [sic] disposed of the theatre, Mr J. B. Dodson became the proprietor; Mr F. B. Egan, of the old theatre in Spring-gardens, and Mr Walter Rainham becoming the new lessees. After making extensive alterations they inaugurated their management by producing a new play called Insured at Lloyd's, continuing with stock pieces until the production of the pantomime The Forty Thieves. Mr Dodson himself, with Mr Bailey as manager, and afterwards Mr Edward Henry, carried on the theatre at a later date. A limited company were the next proprietors, Mr Henry being retained as manager. He was succeeded by Mr W. G. Irwen, who in turn gave place to a syndicate by whom Mr Edmonds was appointed manager. When Mr Salter became lessee under the syndicate, Mr J. C. Emmerson received the appointment of manager...

A Watercolour of the Auditorium of the Queen's Theatre, Bridge Street, Manchester by George Richmond, February 2017. The painting has been created from a photograph in the book 'Red Plush and Gilt' by Joyce Knowlson.

Above - A Watercolour of the Auditorium of the Queen's Theatre, Bridge Street, Manchester by George Richmond, February 2017. The painting has been created from a photograph in the book 'Red Plush and Gilt' by Joyce Knowlson. Click for an Index to all of George Richmond's Paintings on this site.

...The theatre was carried on successfully until the expiration of a nine years' lease, when some dispute arose on the question of rent, which ended in the house remaining unoccupied for some time. Mr Richard Mansell was the first lessee to place the theatre on the popular basis, which has been its chief characteristic in recent years, by lowering the prices and catering for he multitude, a policy which was continued by Mr J. Pitt Hardacre who began theatrical life in Manchester at a salary of three shillings a-week, and who purchased the lease, goodwill, &c., of the theatre from Mr Mansell for £3,500.

An early Entrance Token for the Queen's Theatre, Manchester - Courtesy Paul Withers of Galata Print.The theatre was destroyed by fire on Aug. 17th, 1890, (see image below) and a new building erected by Booth and Chadwick, architects, which was opened on March 28th, 1891, with All that Glitters is Not Gold and Robert Macaire.'

The above text in quotes was first published in an article in the ERA, 4th of January 1896. Please note that the correct spelling for Mr Helliwell mentioned twice in the above text should be 'Hellewell'. Sidney Carter Hellewell was an Indian Rubber Merchant born in 1917, he died in 1863 aged 46.

Right - An early Entrance Token for the Queen's Theatre, Manchester - Courtesy Paul Withers of Galata Print.

T he Queen's Theatre was a reconstruction of the former Royal Amphitheatre and Circus, which was itself the successor to the London Music Hall, and was mostly demolished in 1870. The Queen's Theatre was constructed on the site in the same year. However, a fire in 1890 (see image below) resulted in the Theatre being being destroyed, although it was rebuilt again soon afterwards, opening on March 28th, 1891. The Theatre was managed by a Mr. Flanagan until 1911 when it was finally closed and demolished. The site was sold for the construction of a Masonic temple. Some year later in 1915 the New Theatre on Quay Street was renamed the 'New Queen's Theatre' in homage to the two former Theatres of the same name, however, this would be short lived as the Theatre was renamed the Opera House in 1920, a name it retains to this day.

A photograph showing the Queen's Theatre after a fire destroyed the Theatre on August 17th, 1890. Caption Reads:- 'View of Fire-Resisiting Curtain after Outbreak' - From 'Modern Opera Houses and Theatres' by Edwin O Sachs, Published 1896-1898, and held at the Library of the Technical University (TU) in Delft - Kindly sent in by John Otto.

Above - A photograph showing the Queen's Theatre after a fire destroyed the Theatre on August 17th, 1890. Caption Reads:- 'View of Fire-Resisiting Curtain after Outbreak' - From 'Modern Opera Houses and Theatres' by Edwin O Sachs, Published 1896-1898, and held at the Library of the Technical University (TU) in Delft - Kindly sent in by John Otto.

Some of the archive newspaper reports on this page were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.

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

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