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A TOUR INSIDE THE ‘AT RISK’ GRADE II LISTED VICTORIA THEATRE IN SALFORD
 

Star date: 3rd December 2017

INSIDE LOWER BROUGHTON'S STUNNING VICTORIA THEATRE

The Theatres Trust has Lower Broughton's Grade II listed Victoria Theatre in its top ten list of 'at risk' buildings. Salford Council has promised to protect it, "securing its positive reuse"...

...But urban explorer, Matt Holmes, recently got inside the theatre, took some incredible photos and says "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..."

Full details and loads of photos here...


Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford
Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford
Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford
Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford
Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford
Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford
Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford Inside 'at risk' Victoria Theatre Lower Broughton Salford
click image to enlarge

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

edith challender wrote
at 11:18:36 on 23 July 2018
i used to attend the victoria as a child when it was a cinema -my father used to go there when it was live theatre whoever owns it should be made to keep it in reasonable condition-i sometimes have a run to lower broughton not much left to see of my youth only the victoria and ascension church which was badly burned -the vic should be kept its a magnificent building inside and worth spending on to bring it back to its former glory i think lots of people would chip in i for one would hope something good comes out of the meeting salford council should help
 
keith fawcett wrote
at 15:26:44 on 22 January 2018
Reading the article on the Vitoria cinema as an x Salford lad born and bred, this was one of the cinemas along with the Tower that was owned H.D Morehouse [HDM] And many a happy time was spent there, especially as a young lad in 1940s with the SATURDAY MATINEES and Flash Gorden and the Clay men, however as a variety theater my father and mother would attend the shows, Dad would often give me a rendering of the old music hall songs that I still remember, He told the story of one of my Uncals who played the piano to the silent films, one night drunk he sang to the film and was thrown out!!
 
Jonkino wrote
at 14:47:44 on 21 January 2018
Such a shame the building is deteriating and seems like a waste of the last five years. I remember goi gvto the meeting in 2012 and nothing happening since - lack of of contact from the group and much damage done since. Shameful of Salford City Council to let this happen to such an important cultural building but nurse same all over the UK - particularly in the North and poorer areas of the UK where the emphasis seems to be knock down and revitalise town centres by building new apartment blocks and faceless glass office buildings - Manchester being the prime example. Think Odeon Oxford Road and Cornerhouse. Salford CC could have slapped an order on the owner of this building to make it water tight etc but they disgracefully decide to leave it to rot!! But then MCC are just as bad, they allowed the demolition of the once proud Paramount Theatre (Odeon) and are seemingly prepared to let the old Cornerhouse (formally Tatler) go the same way and I just noticed the other that another fine Victorian building on the corner of Princess Street and Whitworth Street is about to be demolished . Please don't let the Victoria suffer the safe fate. There was a save the victoria public meeting on the 17th this month but I couldn't go due to work anyone know what happened? Here's a video what I did last year the Odeon being razed to the ground on Manchestet as a reminder, we need to act quick to make sure this doesn't happen here. https://youtu.be/8r6DbFtEj_c
 
stewart wrote
at 06:31:57 on 05 December 2017
I made some inquirers about this place 23 years ago and it turned out that my ex landlord owns this property. one Geofrey cline. from what i have been told has since sold all his rented properties. i am noy sure if he has told this on as of yet. but it is a shame that a building like this is in this state.
 
Tony Flynn wrote
at 13:32:54 on 04 December 2017
SalfordOnline covered this atory back in 2012 and the footage is still available to see, at the time my thought was that the steering committee that was chosen to help save the Victoria didn't really have a clue what they were doing, promises were made and never kept, we asked for regular updates and were snubbbed, I fear certain ego's hampered any good work that could have been carried out.
 
Alice wrote
at 10:29:12 on 04 December 2017
How wasteful we are of our history! Why has Stockport been able to recruit energetic and committed 'Friends of' to restore their fabulous Art Deco theatre into full use for its residents. These photos of the Victoria Theatre reflect the glamour and excitement of what 'going to the the theatre' was like in the past. Imagine how great such a repaired building would be for the aspiring youth actors of this area or even as a cinema of original style. Just like the shopping centre across the road, it has been ignored and abandoned for the shallow glitter of the developers 'bribe.'
 
Michael James Felse wrote
at 07:52:50 on 04 December 2017
Shame on allowing Salford heritage slip away. Salford Council is not worth a single vote. They deserve a shout of no confidence. I know many local people are gutted at our City on its knees. This forgotten building reminds me of the true face of Salford Council.
 
Down With Demolition wrote
at 07:50:39 on 04 December 2017
Yet another Grade II Listed Building that has been bought by an investor, so it can be left to rot for the next ten years and then knock it down using the usual excuse that the building is beyond repairing. Then sell it on to greedy developers who will not have to pay any planning or consultation fee's, who then turn the land into hideous and cheaply built apartments, sold at exorbitant prices. It's the same story wherever you go in Salford. Look at the Olde Nelson on Chapel Street. How many times did we hear that was going to be refurbished and did it happen?, "NO". Salford has now become the city of cheap build properties combined with little or no heritage sites. This cannot be allowed to carry on.
 
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