The red brick Victoria Theatre on Great Clowes Street stands almost as the last remnant of Salford's heritage in Lower Broughton which has been relentlessly bulldozed over the last decade.
The Grade II listed building, opened in 1899 by renowned actor Sir Henry Irving, has lots of its original features intact, including its two auditoriums, balconies, intricate plasterwork and arches. While the external building has seen better days, the Theatres Trust states that "the interior alone…justifies listing".
Victoria Theatre was used as both a theatre and a cinema, showing films as early as 1901, but was closed in 1958. From then it was re-born as a furniture store, a theatre for a short while and, lastly, as Victoria Bingo until a few years ago. Now it is up for sale, with agents WT Gunson asking for offers `in the region of £275,000'.
The Theatres Trust, which this month put Victoria Theatre on its register of the 38 most at risk theatres in the country, isn't impressed…
"Salford provides a telling example of what can happen when the presence of a theatre (even a listed theatre) has been totally ignored in the post-war redevelopment of a city area" it states "Improvements to its present forlorn surroundings are imperative if this fine Crewe building is to be seen in appropriate context."
With the bulldozers smashing through what is left of Lower Broughton – Mocha Parade is already half tinned up - a Facebook campaign to save Victoria Theatre sprang up almost immediately after the Theatres Trust announcement.
Almost two thousand members have already joined the online campaign and its first `live' meeting is this Wednesday at the Robert Powell Theatre, with lots of ideas to save the historic theatre already being aired...
Save Victoria Theatre Campaign Meeting
Wednesday 1st August 7pm
Robert Powell Theatre
University of Salford, Frederick Rd Campus M6 6PU
For further details see Theatres Trust website – click here and click on Victoria Theatre
For further details of the Save Victoria Theatre Campaign see Facebook group `Help Save Salford Victoria Theatre' – click here
For previous Salford Star stories on Lower Broughton - click here and click here
Anyone wishing to buy Victoria Theatre see the agent's website – click here