Back in 2012, there was a public meeting and a short-lived campaign to save Lower Broughton's Victoria Theatre, which the owners had put up for sale: but everything fizzled out as the local community wasn't happy with those who led the group, believing it would benefit only the University of Salford (see previous Salford Star article – click here). However a Save The Victoria Theatre campaign seems to be re-birthing now (see Save The Victoria Theatre Facebook page - click here)
The Grade II listed Theatre, built in 1899, closed in 2007 after its final use as the Palace Bingo Hall and is currently on the Theatres Trust's top ten list of 'at risk' buildings...
"Urgent repairs are needed as there is plant growth on the façade" it states "There is a chance of serious deterioration if a new use cannot be found soon and it will need investment to maintain its historic fabric. The theatre requires a new use that would preserve its special interest and allow the possibility of a return to theatre use.
"The owner is open to selling the building but local group Save the Victoria Theatre Trust is unable to afford the suggested price" it adds "One possibility being investigated is whether the National Trust might add the building to its portfolio. In the meantime, the building is subject to continued deterioration..." (see here).
Last year, Salford City Council drew up a Local Plan which included Lower Broughton and promised to protect Victoria Theatre "securing its positive reuse, preferably for a community use in keeping with its original function and design" (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
And that, basically was the last news anyone in Salford heard about the place, which is still derelict. Recently urban explorer, Matt Holmes, got inside the building and took some superb photos showing intact but decaying original features...
"The explore was cold, dark and dangerous with rotten floor boards, dry rot running throughout the building and pigeon poo all over the building" he says "However, once I looked past the dangers the true beauty of the building came through. Original cinema seats from 1900, original balconies and stage are all present along with the 1970's amendments when the building was converted to a bingo hall, for example, the bingo board and Victoria Bingo signs.
"She is a stunning building that holds a century and more of stories and memories" he adds "The building is in dire condition and action must be taken sooner rather than later, otherwise this Victorian time warp is going to be lost..."
* See the full set of Matt's Victoria Theatre photos - click here
** Matt Holmes explores derelict and abandoned buildings, photographing them and showcasing them on his Facebook page Exploring Abandoned Buildings With Matthew Holmes (see here). The Salford Star is hoping to run a lot more of his explores in the near future.
For more background information on Victoria Theatre see the Salford Star article from 2012 – click here
All photos by Matt Holmes