62-68 Eldon Street
The Empire Palace of Varieties opened on Eldon Street in 1908.
It was a hugely popular variety theatre with 12 dressing rooms and a sliding electric roof to let the smoke out! It cost £17,500 to build and could seat 2600 people. Despite its popularity, it closed in 1920, reopening a few years later as the Empire Cinema. It was renamed the Gaumont in 1950, before being destroyed by fire in 1954. It was rebuilt and opened as the ‘new’ Gaumont in 1956, later becoming the Odeon. It is now the Parkway Cinema, and still uses 70mm film, one of only a handful of places to do this now in the UK.
Odeon cinema in 1999 (ref A-3019-C)
Parkway Cinema in May 2022 (copyright BMBC)
Former Empire Palace of Varieties, c. 1908 (ref A-199-F-5-25)