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Theatres and Halls in Salford, Greater Manchester

The Lowry Centre - Regent Theatre - Palace Theatre - Salford Palace Theatre - Palace Cinema - Canterbury Hall - Fox's Victoria Music Hall - Victoria Theatre - Prince of Wales Theatre -Harmonic Hall -Prince's Cinema - Royal Hippodrome

See also in this area - Oldham Theatres - Stockport Theatres - Manchester Theatres - Theatre Royal, Hyde - Leigh Theatres - Wigan Theatres - Glossop Theatres - Southport Theatres -Rochdale Theatres

 

The Lowry Centre, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Salford

A Google StreetView image of the Lowry Centre, Salford - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView image of the Lowry Centre, Salford - Click to Interact

The Lowry Centre opened on the 28th of April, 2000 and is situated on the waterside in the regenerated docklands area of Greater Manchester, now known as Salford Quays. Although opening in April the official opening by the Queen was on the 12th of October 2000.

The building comprises of two Theatres and a performing arts Studio space. The main 'Lyric Theatre' can seat 1,730, the smaller 'Quays Theatre' 466, and the Studio 180. The complex also house a Gallery showcasing the works of L. S. Lowry whose works often depicted Salford and its surrounding areas, and works by other artistes of his period. The Lowry also has generous FOH spaces which incorporate a restaurant, cafes, and bars, with Terraces overlooking the famous Manchester Ship Canal.

An Arts Centre for Salford was first proposed in 1988 with the local Council commissioning the architects Stirling and Wilford, James Stirling and Michael Wilford, to design the building. However James Stirling died in 1992 and the job eventually went to Michael Wilford to design the building. Work began on the construction of the Lowry Centre in April 1997 and the building was completed just three years later. Total costs were £106 million but this included the cost of the Plaza, the terraced areas reaching to the canal side, and the Lifting Footbridge leading to Trafford Wharfside and the Imperial War Museum North, and the Digital World Centre 'DWC'.

There is a great deal of information and a full history of the project on the Lowrys own website which you may like to visit here.

 

The Victoria Theatre, 14-18 Great Clowes Street, Salford

History - 2012 Photos - 2015 Photos

The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

The auditorium of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in January 1989 - Courtesy Ted BottleThe Victoria Theatre, Great Clowes Street, Salford was built in 1900 and designed by the respected Theatre Architect, Bertie Crewe. The Theatre was opened by Henry Irving on Monday the 10th of December 1900.

The Theatre was built as a variety Theatre but was showing films along with live shows as early as 1901 and by 1913 had gone over to Cinema full time. However, the Theatre reverted back to live theatre again by 1917.

The auditorium was later redesigned by Watson with Victorian scenes painted on the ceiling, and a cafe was constructed in the Jacobean style when the Theatre went over to full time Cinema again in 1919.

Right - The auditorium of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in January 1989 - Courtesy Ted Bottle

Cinema continued in the building until July 1958 when it was closed and then used as a clothing store, although occasional use of the Theatre by repertory groups and pantomimes did occur in the 1960s.

During its last period in theatrical use from the mid 1960s until the summer of 1971, the Theatre was owned by a Mr Greenberg – a Salford businessman who acquired it and ran it for sentimental reasons. The last production (in May or June of 1971) was of Lionel Monckton’s 'Quaker Girl' by the North Manchester Amateur Operatic Society. Shortly before this Mr Greenberg had died. The Theatre was offered for sale for £20,000 and meetings were held to try to form a group to take it over, but without success. It then lay dark until being acquired for Bingo. - This information courtesy Martin Stafford.

The Theatre was turned over to Bingo use in 1973 which wasn't successful and it soon closed. The Theatre then remained dark until the 1980s when Bingo was tried again, this time successfully running at the Theatre for many years. However by 2012 Bingo had gone and the Theatre was falling into dissrepair, see below.

The Victoria Theatre is a Grade II Listed building and the Theatres Trust says: 'The intimate auditorium has two balconies. The first has a raised rear section behind a balustraded parapet (a most unusual arrangement). There are two superimposed stage boxes at each side. The lower boxes are flanked by squat Corinthian columns, and upper boxes by draped figures which support arches framing richly scrolled plasterwork.The balcony and box fronts are divided into panels which contain gilded plasterwork. Spanning the auditorium between the tops of the boxes is a deep elliptical arch which frames a tympanum above the rectangular proscenium...

The auditorium of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in January 1989 - Courtesy Ted Bottle

Above - The auditorium of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in January 1989 - Courtesy Ted Bottle

A Google StreetView image of the Victoria Theatre, Salford - Click to Interact...There are substantial remains of wood sub-stage machinery with paddle levers and the construction for corner traps and four bridges. The grave trap is complete with its platform... Salford provides a telling example of what can happen when the presence of a theatre (even a listed theatre) has been totally ignored in the post-war redevelopment of a city area...

Right - A Google StreetView image of the Victoria Theatre, Salford - Click to Interact.

Improvements to its present forlorn surroundings are imperative if this fine Crewe building is to be seen in appropriate context. It is, on the other hand, also a fine example of the beneficial effects of bingo in providing life and continued care to a theatre which would otherwise -certainly have been demolished in the 1970s.' The Theatres Trust.

Sadly by 2012 the Victoria Theatre was closed and up for sale and had fallen into a seriously dilapidated state, metal thieves had been scavenging and the Theatre's Agents had to install temporary lighting in the Theatre after the main electrical distribution boards were hacked to bits for the copper and brass. The Theatre has even been added to the Theatres Trust 'At Risk' buildings. A Campaign to save the Theatre was launched in 2012 but this seems to have stalled and in 2015 the building is still in a very sorry state. Some photographs of the state of the Theatre, taken in July 2012 and April 2015 are shown below.

 

Photographs of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012

The exterior of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - The exterior of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

The auditorium of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - The auditorium of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

The auditorium of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - The auditorium of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

The auditorium of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - The auditorium of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

FOH at of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - FOH at of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

The closed off balcony of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R. FOH at of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - The closed off balcony and FOH at of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

The Substage of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - The Substage of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in July 2012 - Courtesy K.R.

Photographs of the Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015

The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Above - The Victoria Theatre, Salford in April 2015 - Courtesy Alfred Mason

Some of the above information on the Victoria Theatre, Salford was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website.

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

 

The Prince of Wales Theatre, Liverpool Street, Salford

Formerly - The Harmonic Hall - Later - The Prince's Cinema

The frontage of the former Prince of Wales Theatre, Salford in about 1960 - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - The frontage of the former Prince of Wales Theatre, Salford in about 1960 - Courtesy Roy Cross

An application for a theatrical licence for the Harmonic Hall in Liverpool Street, Salford was made by the well known actor manager Brinsley Sheridan on Wednesday the 10th of May 1882. The Harmonic Hall, which could accommodate around 1,800 people already had a stage and was licenced for public entertainments but not for stage plays. Sheridan had recently acquired the building and stated at the licence enquiry that the Hall already had four doors, two for the audience and two for the stage, and that he had had another door constructed since taking over the building. The hearing stated that Sheridan's other Theatres in Chester and Warrington had been run in a proper manner and that they saw no reason why Salford shouldn't have a Theatre too. After an adjournment the magistrate granted Sheridan and his chairman Mr. Moss, a licence to stage plays in the building.

Consequently, after some rebuilding by a Mr. Walker, and decorations by a Mr. Talbot, the newly renamed Prince of Wales Theatre on Liverpool Street, Salford opened on Saturday the 27th of May 1882 with seating for 1,000 people. The ERA reported on the occasion in their 3rd of June edition saying: 'We are pleased to record a successful opening of the above new house on the evening of Saturday last, when a large audience assembled to show their appreciation of the enterprise displayed by Mr B. Sheridan.

The bill of was a good cue, consisting of The Serious Family and The Spitalfields Weaver'. In both Mr Sheridan appeared, and was well supported by Messrs Wybrow, Sutherland, Fairleigh, Garth, and Vere; and Mesdames E. Levettez, A. Travers, B. Clifton, and L. Hicks.

At the conclusion of the comedy, all the characters being called before the curtain, Mr Sheridan addressed the audience as follows: - "Kind friends, unaccustomed as I am to public speaking - I believe that in the correct thing to say on these occasions - I assure you this is one of the proudest moments of my life, and I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without thanking you most sincerely for your kind attendance here this evening, also for the very flattering reception you have accorded to our 'poor players,' who are at the best but the `abstract and brief chronicles of the times,' on our first appearance amongst you. I ought not to say, perhaps, my first appearance, seeing that I am rather a well-known character - I don't mean to the police, but to the public of Manchester - and have many a time and oft to yearn gone by at the Theatres Royal, Princess, and Queen's, striven, if not to 'point' a moral and adorn a tale,' at least to furnish a little mild laughter. But I am wandering. With your permission I'll take off my wig. Now I feel mare wigorous, but, unfortunately, what I intended to say has vanished into thin air. I mean hair - this wig; I really have nothing more to say. Mrs. Malaprop was pleased with Captain Absolute because he had so much to may for himself. Mine is the ghost's motto, 'Brief let me be.' I venture to hope the you will extend to me your support; come to the New Prince of Wales Theatre pretty regularly, every night if you like. You will always find something dramatic going on, which it shall be my earnest endeavour to render as palatable as possible to your well-known critical tastes, and I know you will give me credit for the beet intentions. If you extend the patronage I anticipate I will not even draw the line at reducing the gas-rate - a barring question this - lowering the income tax, increasing the tramway accommodation from Salford to China, giving our Irish friends Home Rule, anti even if you wish it a change of a government, Mind, I say, if you wish it. If not you shall go on as you are under the people's William."' - The ERA, June 3rd, 1882.

The Prince of Wales Theatre opened on Saturday the 27th of May 1882 as a live Theatre but was already showing some films as early as 1905, and by 1915 had gone over to full time Cinema use under its new name of the Prince's Cinema.

The Theatre was refurbished in 1929 and had a new Theatre Organ installed as well as new seats, and the auditorium walls were painted in Wedgwood blue with white floral motifs.

In 1930 the Theatre began showing Talking pictures and the seating was reduced to 600.

The building was being run by Suburban Cinemas by 1942 but by 1944 the building was in use not as a Cinema, but as an office supplies establishment. Later the Theatre was even used as a waste paper factory, a sorry end for Sheridan's 1882 Theatre.

The Prince of Wales Theatre was finally demolished in 1973.

Some of the above information on the Prince of Wales Theatre's later years was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website.

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

 

The Regent Theatre of Varieties, and Assembly Rooms, Cross Lane, Salford

Formerly - The Regent Theatre and Opera House - Later -The Palace Theatre / Salford Palace Theatre and the Palace Cinema

The frontage of the former Regent Theatre, Salford - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - The frontage of the former Regent Theatre, Salford - Courtesy Roy Cross

A Poster for a variety production at the Regent Theatre of Varieties, Salford in 1907. - Click to Enlarge.The Regent Theatre of Varieties, Salford was built by William Brown and Son, of Salford in 1895 and designed by the renowned Theatre Architect Frank Matcham.

Right - A Poster for a variety production at the Regent Theatre of Varieties, Salford in 1907. On the Bill were Mansel and Juveniles, Terry & Bentley, Princess Pauline, Goodman, Johnny Danvers, Maudie Ford, Picitt and Lizette, The Crazy Cook, The Haverleys, Ernest Rees, and the Arthur Lloyd Trio performing 'Little Charlie' - Click to enlarge - More posters here.

The Theatre cost £14,000 to build and originally opened as the Regent Theatre and Opera House with a production of J. W. Turner's English opera company in 'Maritana' on Monday the 2nd of September 1895.

The ERA reported on the opening of the Theatre in their 7th of September 1895 edition saying: 'Encouraged by their success in this country, and noticing the rapid increase of the population of Salford caused by the completion of the Ship Canal, Mr James M. Hardie and his partners, Miss Von Leer and Mr Frank A. Gordyn, resolved some months ago to build a handsome theatre in a convenient position.

Having called in Mr Frank Matcham, of London, the well-known theatrical architect, they arranged with Messrs Wm. Brown and Son, of Salford, contractors, for the erection of a beautiful and commodious theatre to accommodate about 3.000 persons (including 900 in the gallery and 800 in the pit).

The stage measures 45ft. by 80ft., and can be shut off from the auditorium by an iron and asbestos curtain. The theatre is in the shape of a horseshoe, and the decoration is cream and lavender enriched with gold. The building stands back some yards from Cross-lane, and has a grand main covered entrance with mosaic tiled flooring. The lower circle is reached by a spacious staircase of about a dozen stairs, at the top of which is a handsome glazed ante room, with doors leading to the back of the lower circle, which contains about 120 chairs.

Everything that the vast experience of the architect could suggest has been done to make the building as complete and comfortable as possible. The theatre has been named the Regent Theatre, and was opened on Monday, the 2d inst., by the Mayor of Salford (Mr Alderman Mottram), who, with the Mayoress (Mrs Mottram), occupied a private box, and many members of the town council, magistrates, and other leading burgesses filled the dress-circle and stalls.

After the curtain was raised the Mayor in a few appropriate words declared the theatre open, and the company sang the National Anthem. Then a splendid drop-scene, the work of Mr C. R. Noble, of Northampton was lowered. The subject is "The Golden Temple, Amritsar." This curtain is arranged to go up and down without being rolled. For the opening performance Mr J. W. Turner's English opera company presented the opera of Maritana in a manner which called forth much applause. Mr J. W. Turner as Don Ceasar de Bazan, Mr John Ridding as Don Jose, Mr Sidney Clifford as Charles II., Miss Amy Martin as Lazarillo, and Miss Annie Roberts as Maritana were frequently encored. The other characters - Marquis de Moutefiore by Mr Richard Cummings, Captain of the Guard by Mr T. Jamieson, Alcade by Mr T. J. Rennie, and the Marchioness by Miss Maud Esdale - contributed, with the excellent chorus to the successful rendering of the opera.

At the end of the second act there were loud calls for Mr Hardie, who appeared and thanked the Mayor and ladies and gentlemen present for the way they had received the entertainment, and in their names begged to be allowed to thank Mr Matcham and the builders (Messrs Wm. Brown and Son) for the way they had done their work. In referring to Mr Matcham Mr Hardie said, "What he does not know is soon told; what he does know would fill volumes." Mr Hardie then introduced his partners, Miss Von Leer and Mr Gordyn, who bowed and retired. Mr Hardie said that they had provided a theatre which was one of the most substantially built in the country, and they intended to provide the very best entertainments that they possibly could. It remained for the inhabitants of Salford to support them. They had six companies on tour which required looking after, and in his absence Mr Frank A. Gordyn would remain to manage the theatre, and he could assure them, from his eight years' experience of that gentleman, that there would be no cause to complain of the way he would carry out his work. They had a large number of pieces already booked. Mr Gordyn was then called, and responded in felicitous terms. Mr Matcham and Mr Wm. Brown, the builder, were also summoned to the footlights. Mr J. W. Turner and his company produced Il Trouatore on Tuesday; Faust on Wednesday; Cavallerla Rusticana and The Daughter of the Regiment on Thursday. The Bohemian Girl and The Lily of Killarney are also announced.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the ERA, September 7th 1895.

A memorial stone for the Theatre was laid three years after the Theatre opened, on Saturday the 22nd of October 1898, by George R. Simms, and in the presence of the Mayor of Salford, Alderman Rudman, the chairman of the Regent Theatre, Councillor W. E. Roscoe, and other dignitaries including the Theatre's original builder, William Brown, Jun., and its architect Frank Matcham. The stone read:

Regent Theatre and Assembly Rooms.
This stone was laid by
George R. Sims,
Oct. 22d. 1898.
Managing Director,
Frank A. Gordyn.
William Brown and Sons, Builders - Frank Matcham, Architect

The stone was laid because some old shops had finally been acquired which had been situated in front of the Theatre, this allowed the construction of a new 'ornamental' frontage for the building which had previously been rather plain in appearance. Construction of the adjoining Assembly Rooms was also carried out at the same time. After the ceremony Mr Sims, Mr Penley, and Mr Matcham had a meal at the Victoria Hotel, Manchester, with some of the directors and a few other gentlemen, including Mr Alderman Rudman and Mr Malpas.

The Theatre would later be renamed the Regent Theatre of Varieties, and later still, in 1919, when the Theatre changed hands, and was the subject of major renovations costing some £20,000, it was renamed the Palace Theatre. The Theatre had begun showing early cinema in 1901 and by 1910 Bioscope pictures had become a regular feature during the variety shows.

In 1929 the Theatre was split into two venues, called the Salford Palace Theatre and the Palace Cinema.

In 1941 the Palace Cinema part of the building was destroyed by fire and never reopened but the Palace Theatre part continued showing films and even reverted to live Theatre after the war for a few years, with films shown only on Sundays. However, by 1951 it had reverted to showing Films only again.

Sadly the Theatre's auditorium was completely destroyed by fire in 1952 and despite rumours that it might be rebuilt this never happened and the whole building was demolished in 1963. A roundabout and entrance to the M 602 motorway now stands on the site.

Some of the information about the Regent Theatre's later years was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website.

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

 

The Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Cross Lane, Salford

Later - The Windsor Theatre

An early photograph of the Salford Royal Hippodrome - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - An early photograph of the Salford Royal Hippodrome - Courtesy Roy Cross. There is another photograph of the Theatre's exterior here.

A Variety Poster for the Salford Hippodrome - Courtesy David Garratt.The Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Salford opened on the 7th March 1904 with a Variety Bill with 14 different acts, 9 of which were comedy. The Theatre was designed by the architect J. J. Alley who had been in the Matcham Organisation for a time, and also designed the Metropole, Manchester, the Royal Osborne, Manchester, the Hulme Hippodrome, Manchester, the Hulme Playhouse, Manchester, the Queens Park Hippodrome, Manchester, the Hippodrome, Preston, and the Pavilion, Liverpool.

The site chosen for the Theatre was between Spring Vale Road and Peel Street with its frontage on Cross Lane. It was built for William Broadhead and sons, of Thomas Street, Manchester and was the 6th of eventually 7 theatres to be built in the Manchester suburbs, and would, by a few months, also be the last to close in 1955.

Right - A Variety Poster for the Salford Hippodrome - Courtesy David Garratt. On the Bill entitled 'The Breakaway Revue' were Bobbie Burns, Violet Lane, Eric Le Fern, Tom Crook, Jules, The Fawcett Sisters, Our Page Boys, Billy Smith, Roy Lester, The Amami Girls, Ketta Papucci, Ted Tolan, and Ruth Beaumont. This show was also advertised the following week at the Preston Hippodrome.

With two winged circles and a large stalls area the Hippodrome seated around 1,800 people and pursued a policy of variety, revue, occasional musical comedy, circus, and seasons of repertory, and pantomime, usually on a twice nightly policy. Broadhead was a strict teetotaler so there was no alcohol sold at the Salford Hippodrome or any of his other Theatres.

The booking agent for the circuit was Percy Hall who had offices in central Manchester above a millinery shop. Friday was payday and anyone passing by there around 11a.m might well have seen Gracie Fields, George Formby and other stars of the future collecting their wages, as many famous stars began their careers at the Salford Hippodrome and the Broadhead Circuit.

Pat Kirkwood made her first variety appearance there in 1935 at the age of 14, and W.C. Fields performed there in 1910 as a comedy juggler act, but would soon rise to be a Hollywood star.

A huge recruitment campaign was held at the Hippodrome in 1914, and several young men joined the forces as a result. In both World Wars the Broadhead halls were available free of charge to those engaged in the war effort.

There was a falling off of interest in variety after WW1 and many halls were changed to cinemas, but the Hippodrome carried on very well with attractions such as Len Johnson the boxer giving exhibition bouts, and strongman Samson who for publicity purposes lay down outside the Theatre and allowed a motorcar to run right over him! Animals for the circuses would arrive at the station and parade in cages along Cross Lane to the stage door in Peel Street.

 

In 1931 William Broadhead died and the following year the Hippodrome was put up for auction, along with the other Theatres in the Broadhead Circuit, here details of the Lot for the Hippodrome are shown. In 1931 William Broadhead died and the following year the Hippodrome was put up for auction, along with the other Theatres in the Broadhead Circuit. However, after the sale the Theatre continued with its Variety tradition.

Left - Details of the Auction Lot for the Salford Hippodrome after William Broadhead's death in 1931.

One big attraction at the Hippodrome was the actor Tod Slaughter who specialised in melodrama. It is said that whilst presenting Sweeney Todd, the demon barber, at the Hippodrome he arranged for meat pies to be sold in the interval, reminding patrons at the end of the play that the murderer had not yet been caught!

Roy Castle, Tessie Oshea, Hylda Baker, and Tommy Cooper were all in variety there, but a sad decline brought about by TV eventually saw nude revues and strip shows desperately trying to bring in the audiences.

 

The Salford Hippodrome with its new name of the Windsor Theatre in the 1950s - Courtesy Roy Cross.In 1955 the Hippodrome closed and was bought by John Buckley, who owned the super cinema opposite, and others who were intent on making it another cinema. Then it was offered to the Council to be turned into a permanent repertory Theatre.

Right - The Salford Hippodrome with its new name of the Windsor Theatre in the 1950s - Courtesy Roy Cross.

Even a change of name to the Windsor Theatre, and a quick renovation wherein old gas mantles were discovered, and better class shows were put on, such as a pantomime with Manchester's own favourite comedian Dave Morris, did not work, and in 1962 topping the bill were the demolition men.

Another block of flats by the name of Thorn Court arose on the site, but nothing remained to remind those passing by that here had once stood a house of entertainment that gave pleasure to thousands of people over a great many years.

The above article on the Salford Hippodrome was written by Roy Cross and Matthew Lloyd in February 2014.

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

 

The Canterbury Hall, Chapel Street and Greengate, Salford

Formerly - Fox's Victoria Music Hall

A Google StreetView image of the former Canterbury Hall, Salford - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView image of the former Canterbury Hall, Salford - Click to Interact

The building on the corner of Chapel Street and Greengate, Salford became an alehouse in 1790 when the clockmaker, Major Schofield, who'd had a shop on Old Bridge Street (later Victoria Bridge Street), was granted a licence for the Clockmakers Arms or Clock Face. James Moss changed the name to the Feathers Inn in 1829, then it was the Rising Sun under Sam Kent a decade later. In 1841 the pub was known as the Victoria Bridge Inn with William Barge in charge, then a few years later, George Fox took over and opened a music hall within [1].

 

The Canterbury Plaster Works, the former Canterbury Hall, Chapel Street, Salford, 1930 - Courtesy Dan at Pubs of Manchester - Past & Present.Fox's Victoria Music Hall is mentioned in the Manchester Times, September 1856, reporting the "Tremendous success of Mr. Taylor, Comic Vocalist" [2], although less than a year later "the Victoria Bridge Inn, better known as Fox's Victoria Music Hall" is advertised for letting, due to the death of the proprietor [3], presumably George Fox himself.

Right - The Canterbury Plaster Works, the former Canterbury Hall, Chapel Street, Salford, 1930 - Courtesy Dan at Pubs of Manchester - Past & Present.

The Fox family let to the pub go in 1858 and at this time, the Music Hall was rebuilt on the same corner site, and renamed the Canterbury Hall, or Canterbury Hotel. In The Era in November 1858, Mr W. R. Julian, Comic Vocalist and Mimic "thanked his patrons at the Canterbury Hall for their liberal support" [4]. In December of the same year, the Sisters Gifford were advertising their last engagement in Manchester and Salford at the Canterbury Hall [5].

 

The Music Hall was run by Thomas Donley from 1859 - 1860 [6-8], then the tenancy of the new Canterbury Hall passed from John Foster in 1860 to George Woodruff in 1863, when the nearby Chester's Brewery acquired the Hall [1]. The Manchester Times reports the opening of a new billiards room at the Canterbury Hall in November 1865, "where a table, with all the appurtenances, has been fitted up by Mr Metcalfe, of this city." Over 60 gentlemen witnessed a billiards match between local James Barber and champion player, John Roberts, who allowed his challenger a 450 point start. This came back to haunt him as Barber won 1,000 to 911 [9].

An Entrance Token for the Canterbury Hall, Salford during the management of Thomas Donley from 1859 to 1860 - Courtesy Paul Withers An Entrance Token for the Canterbury Hall, Salford during the management of Thomas Donley from 1859 to 1860 - Courtesy Paul Withers

Above - An Entrance Token for the Canterbury Hall, Salford during the management of Thomas Donley from 1859 to 1860 - Courtesy Paul Withers of Galata Print.

Later licensees were George Crawfard in the 1870s, George Lawton in the 1880s and finally Arthur Johnson. In 1893 Johnson was charged with running a lottery (you were given a ticket as you bought your mug of beer). Magistrates agreed with the police's objection to the Canterbury Hall's licence, stating that there were too many pubs in the neighbourhood (about one for every 106 people), and it was closed [1].

The former Canterbury Hall from above, 12-14 Chapel Street, Salford, 2008. (c) Google 2012. As pictured in 1930 (Shown Above Right) the building became the Canterbury Plaster Works, and Chester's Brewery still owned it, so as they were quite entitled to, they fitted illuminated signs that proudly advertised 'Chester’s Brewers of Quality' across the bus station and River Irwell [10].

Given that most of Chapel Street's many old pubs are either closed, demolished or being left to slowly rot, it is remarkable that the Canterbury Hall still stands today, and in such fine condition. When viewed from above (Shown Left), there is clearly a smaller building to the rear of the main building, so it's possible that this served as a garden bar or even as part of the music hall itself.

 

This view of the Canterbury Hotel is looking across the River Irwell near Victoria Bridge with Exchange Station in the background. The Chester’s sign remains on the building despite it losing its licence over a hundred years ago - Courtesy Dan at Pubs of Manchester - Past & Present.

Above - This view of the Canterbury Hotel is looking across the River Irwell near Victoria Bridge with Exchange Station in the background. The Chester’s sign remains on the building despite it losing its licence over a hundred years ago - Courtesy Dan at Pubs of Manchester - Past & Present .

The above article on the Canterbury Hall, Salford was written by Dan at Pubs of Manchester - Past & Present and kindly sent in for inclusion on this site by him in March 2012.

References:

1. Salford Pubs Part One: The Old Town, including Chapel Street, Greengate and the Adelphi, Neil Richardson (2003).
2. Manchester Times, 6th September 1856.
3. Manchester Times, 13th June 1857.
4. The Era, 21st November 1858.
5. The Era, 12th December 1858.
6. The Era, 2nd October 1859.
7. The Era, 26th February 1860.
8. The Era, 26th August 1860.
9. Manchester Times, 25th November 1865.
10. Salford Pubs - Part Three: Including Cross Lane, Broad Street, Hanky Park, the Height, Brindleheath, Charlestown and Weaste, Neil Richardson (2003).

If you have any more information or images for the Canterbury Hall that you are willing to share please Contact me.

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

 

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