Wigan Road., Ashton
Part of Group:
At Risk: No
The Queen's Theatre at Ashton in Makerfield was built following the approval of plans submitted by Curran & Sons in November 1912 for construction of “a hippodrome” on Wigan Road (Wigan Archives, ref. UD Ash/A/A1/36). By this time the term had come to mean a general public entertainment venue or “palace of varieties”. Ashton already had the Royal Picture Palace on Bryn Street, and within a few months THE Hippodrome (later, The Scala Cinema) would open its doors on Heath Road. The promoters must nevertheless have judged that there was sufficient demand for a third cinema in the town.
Construction must have been completed early in 1914, for on 9 March the Council approved a proposal to add a verandah to the “New Picture House, Wigan Road” (UD Ash/A/A1/37). Possibly the name had not yet been agreed. On 20 July, however, the Council considered a letter from “the Manager of the Queen's Picture House” complaining that inadequate drainage on Wigan Road had caused the basement rooms to flood (UD Ash/A/A1/38). A little over a fortnight later, Britain declared war on Germany. Despite the inauspicious start, the Queen's Picture House continued to screen films for almost half a century.
The cinema closed about 1960. According to planning records the building was in use as a bingo hall by 1962. In 1988 permission was given for a change of use whereby the property would be divided into five shops at ground floor level with a licensed wine bar and bistro on the first floor. This was later varied to allow for extension of the wine bar into the ground floor.
The present owner is Roseberry Taverns Ltd, trading on the premises as “Queens Nightclub” and “Plantation Bar & Grill”.
Images and text by the Makerfield Rambler.