the building was originally a theatre, the park palace of varieties which was erected on the site of an old coach works by james kierman and opened on 11th of december 1894 the length of the building was adjecent to mill street giving quite a long frontage along which extended a glass verandah. This provided shelter for queues there being no interior waiting rooms.
there was 2 seperate entrance ways one for the stalls leading to the left hand side of the auditorium whilst from the other a stairway led to the circle and gallery on one floor the former with a few rows of seats and the latter a stepped flooring
the procscenium was 30ft in width and surrounded by the royal coat of arms from 1903 when king edward vii was stated to have visited the theatre ,at either end of the stage were two boxes at ground and circle levels
james kiernan the builder and proprietor was a well known personality in merseyside variety history and artistes including george formby senior entertained at the theatre during the early days of their stage careers.
variety continued until about 1907 when following a change to plays jasper redfern a sheffield optician who had been a successful with film shows at halls in sheffield and manchester reopened the park palace with pictures and variety simultaneously with tivoli lime street.
After another short term lease to the weisker bros the theatre was taken over by peter dunn in 1911 who was managing director of the company a family buisness who continued to run the cinema until his death in 1934. the position was taken by miss sheila dunn in 1941
peter dunn presented similar entertainment from 1911 with programmes consiting of pathe gazette serial variety show then the main film.
from the mid 1920's there was musical accompaniment by a seven piece orchestra led by mr j.Lovelady but this ceased when the 'talkies' commenced on the 8th of january 1930
The cinema was well patronised in the early days but later survive against strong competition especially the rialto opened in 1907 until it was one of the last 3 remaining cinemas in toxteth. With a top admission price of only 1/3d it was reported that the cinema would be missed by many old people who attended regular also the children paying only 6d.
since closing as a cinema in 1959 the building has been used as a Chemist shop which itself closed in 1995. The building still stands today, albeit in a severely dilapidated state.
id had my eye on this on ever since i found out that it was an old theatre back in 2008 when it was used for some biennial thing but never got round to getting in and has been pretty much locked and alarmed since then.
i remember it as a chemist as i used to live right opposite the place before i moved many many moons ago so it was a nice surprise finding this out.
however today was my day i was in the area i noticed both the side doors open then a load of vans and wagons turned up and quite a lot of people going in at this point i was going to ask permission from whoever was in charge but thought id leave it until a bit later on so i did and observed from a distance then got my trusty (dream palaces of liverpool) book out the boot of the car and over i went. It turns out they was using the building filming hollyoaks and after a bit of banter with a bloke outside i was allowed inside for a few snaps couldnt really go far with all the equipment inside and i didnt want to take the piss i was allowed in and for me thats all that mattered as this place boasted a lovely ceiling and it did not disappoint so the projector room (if any was left) didnt get seen
theres a bit of confusion over the history heres 2 sites that are a bit different over it but i typed out the original history from my book (courtesy of dream palaces of liverpool) http://www.theparkpalace.co.uk/ http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/Liverpo...eLiverpool.htm
i havent got a scanner so i took a pic from out my book of the old park palace
the upper seating
and the main stage
i entered from behind the stage to be greeted with this
left of the stage
hollyoaks makeup area (you can make out where the upper seating was)