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Plymouth's Palace Theatre on 'most endangered' list
6:00am Friday 18th October 2013 in Devon
The Palace Theatre on Union Street in Plymouth has been included on the Victorian Society’s list of the ten most endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales.
This Top Ten was drawn up from nominations from members of the public following a nationwide appeal to find the country’s best and most threatened buildings.
To be eligible a building has to be at risk, whether from demolition, neglect, insensitive development or, as in the case of the Palace Theatre, years of misuse.
The Grade II*-listed Palace Theatre, or the 'New Palace Theatre of Varieties' as it was christened, was built by architects John Thomas Wimperis and William Henry Arber in 1898.
The society says that the Palace Theatre is one of the most remarkable entertainment buildings of its time, summing up the "flamboyance of the music hall, with display and show both inside and out". The principal façade boasts Spanish soldiers, Flemish gables, Tuscan columns, scenes from the Armada and a small lighthouse, and the interior is every bit as lavish.
The construction of Plymouth’s more central Theatre Royal in the 1970s led to closure as a theatre, and the building’s spell as a club ended in 2006.
This is the seventh year the Victorian Society has run the endangered buildings campaign, which aims to highlight the problems facing many of our historic buildings.
Often appearing on the Victorian Society’s endangered list helps to kick start local authorities into action to preserve their architectural assets.
Although the Palace Theatre was in our Top Ten endangered buildings in 2008, Plymouth City Council has made no progress in finding a solution and the building’s condition has further deteriorated.
Chris Costelloe, director of the Victorian Society said: “Plymouth Council needs to take decisive action, or the city risks losing one of its best buildings. The state of Union Street lets Plymouth down, and the reopening of the Palace Theatre is a necessary precondition for its regeneration.”
Other buildings on the list this year include another Palace Theatre – Swansea’s, which is also in a desperate state repair – as well the Royal Victoria Pavilion on the seafront in Ramsgate and Haggerston Baths in London.
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