DEMOLISHED - Help SAVE the beautiful interiors of the Palace Theatre in Nelson


Demolition of the building commenced on 24 June 2010.


07 August 2009:

Time is running out for The Palace Theatre in Nelson, Lancashire, as demolition looms. Help the cause by writing to the Local Authority.

SAVE has learned that the Palace Theatre in Nelson, well maintained, and with 100 years of rich history, is due to be bulldozed to make way for a multi-storey car park.

Built in 1909 to the design of the Burnley and Liverpool Practice Matthew, Watson, Landless and Pearse, the Palace Theatre has provided a venue for a wide variety of entertainment. It opened as a 2000-seat theatre and, in 1922, was converted to a cinema. More recently it has been used as a repertory venue and a bingo hall. Crucially, throughout all these changes the interior and original fabric of the building has remained remarkably unaltered. The auditorium space survives largely undisturbed, retaining its original plan and ceiling with its circular central panel. Boxes and balconies are embellished by decorative plasterwork such as columns, pilasters and pediments. Unfortunately the setting of the theatre has been degraded by a harmful road-widening scheme and the original façade has been stripped.

The Palace Theatre is unlisted at present, although The Theatres Trust has submitted an application for spot-listing. It is a building of national significance as a survivor of its type and compares well to other Grade II listed examples such as The Burnley Empire, adding further weight to the argument that this building should benefit from listing protection. The remarkably well-preserved interior detail could be relatively easily restored where necessary, leaving this gem of 20th-century theatre design ready to fulfil a number of new uses. With a little imagination The Palace Theatre could be awarded a new lease of life with options including restaurant, community hall or indoor market, as well as the obvious choice of reviving it as a theatre.

SAVE calls for sanity to prevail and for Pendle Borough Council to abandon its 1960s-inspired plan to sacrifice this important and delightfully detailed building for a car park.

To express your concern at the potential loss of the building please urgently email or write to Pendle District Council. Correspondance should be addressed to:

Mr Stephen Barnes, Chief Executive and Councillor Allan Buck, Executive Member for Economic Development and Tourism

C/o: Tracy Hartley

Postal address: Pendle Borough Council, Town Hall, Market Street, Nelson BB9 7LG

The Theatres Trust would also like to be copied into any correspondance. Their details are or 22 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0QL

Update 14 August 2009:

The Theatres Trust are working alongside the council considering how the theatre might be retained and integrated in a wider regeneration scheme. This is a great step in the right direction and we hope that these discussions continue to progress well.

Theatre Trust - 14/08/09