King Street, Wigan, Wigan
Part of Group:
At Risk: No
The Palace Cinema occupied a site where Robinson's Wigan Brewery stood until it was taken over by the Magee Marshall company in 1894. One of the empty warehouses was converted and put to use as roller skating rink in 1909. It was sometimes referred to as the Ring suggesting that the large building could have been used for Boxing and Wrestling matches.
Roller skating continued at the KingStreet Rink long after the New Pavillion Cinema, which was the first venue for the pastime before it switched to showing regular animated picture shows, but in 1911, there was a change in the lease and the King Street Rink was converted also into a cinema, opening on 13th December that year. It was run by Messrs Laurie Dixon and Thomas Blackshaw, two brithers-in-law, who had come from Rochdalle in 1895.
Dixon was the new cinema's extrovert manager, a man brimming over with ideas. In 1913 he sold tickets for the "Laurie Dixon Benefit" arranged by and for himself. Thomas Blackshaw also managed the Empire but returned to the Palace when Dixon retired in 1921. He kept the manager's position until the cinema was taken over by the H.D. Moorhouse Circuit. The building was totally refurbished and modernised and it was probably at this time that a balcony was added,
Fom the Wigan Observer on the 16th December opening:-
The latest of Wigan's picture halls was opened on Wedesday night when an excellent programme was presented at each of the two shows.
The hall was previously used and known as the King Street Rink and has been sumptuously fitted with plush tip-up chairs in the stalls and upholstered forms in the pit, comfortable accommodation being found for 1,100 patrons.
The new look Palace was equipped with a British Talking Picture sound system in 1931 and in 1940 the building once more passed into the hands of Magee Marshall, the company that owned the Brewers Arms public house next door, but H.D. Moorhouse continued to run the cinema.
Moorhouse was a member of the syndicate which took control of the Mancunian Film Studios in Rusholme. Other directors included James Brennan, later to take over the Princes and Wigan Entertainments Co Ltd, and Frank Randle who was the Mancunian Films star attraction. Frank was born in Aspull and was famous as a comedy actor and had a very eventful life and career..
A new British Accoustics system was fitted in 1950 and in 1956 the CinemaScope system was unveiled. Sadly though, the unfashionable Palace was hit hard by falling attendances and closed. The last film was shown onSaturday, February 19th, 1961, ending a fifty year cinema history.
John Gostellow 2021.
More information - Link
Part of the King Street "Lost Buildings" project - Link