Building Name

Opera House; Winter Gardens, Blackpool

1902 - 1911
Lancashire, England
New Build

By 1910, Matcham's Opera House interior had become unfashionable and it was demolished, to be replaced by Mangnall & Littlewoods’ French classical Opera House which opened in June 1911, though design work had begun in 1902. Despite these attempts to keep up with popular taste, the Winter Gardens began to lose money, and was taken over by the Blackpool Tower Company in 1928. There were many subsequent alterations, including the rebuilding of the Opera House by Charles MacKeith in 1939, more in the manner of a cinema with two cantilevered balconies.

PROPOSED OPERA HOUSE, BLACKPOOL - It is proposed to reconstruct Her Majesty’s Opera House in connexion with the Winter Gardens, and to enlarge the building to double the capacity. Messrs. Mangnall & Littlewood, of Manchester, architects, have prepared the plans and drawings for the work. The whole of the Winter Gardens Church-street frontage from the present Opera House entrance to Adelphi-street will be taken in hand, and a new facade will be erected. The building will consist of two stories. The present entrance to the Winter Gardens will be embodied in the scheme, and remain in its present position. The existing entrance to the Opera House will form the entrance to the pit, and west of these entrances will be three shops. At the Adelphi-street corner is to be a square tower 100 ft. high, surmounted by an ornamental minaret. The entrance to the dress circle and upper circle will be under the tower at the westerly corner of the block in Church-street. This entrance hall will be almost as large as the present entrance hall of the Opera House. Staircases lead up to a foyer, which will be 120 ft. in length by 40 ft. in width. From the foyer is an entrance to the dress circle, 20 ft. wide, and an entrance to the upper circle of similar proportions. Ample cloakrooms, ladies’ retiring-rooms, etc., are provided for. The useless room at the back of the present theatre is to be thrown into the body of the theatre. Increased accommodation will be given for 1,500 persons. The bars at the rear of the pit, the dress circle and the upper circle are to be cleared out, along with several stairways that can be dispensed with, and then there will be practically a reconstruction of the auditorium. Extra seating will be provided in the stalls. The pit will be carried further back and extra seating obtained. The circles will be entirely taken down and reconstructed. The dress circle, which now consists of only three rows of seats, will be increased to twelve rows. The upper circle, instead of having eight rows, will have fifteen. There will also be accommodation for 300 or 400 more in the gallery. The work will cost from £20,000 to £30,000. [Builder 24 May 1902 page 525]

Reference    Builder 24 May 1902 page 525
Reference    Lynn Pearson Seaside Architecture