Report - - Victoria Theatre, Salford – December 2017 | Theatres and Cinemas | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Victoria Theatre, Salford – December 2017


Exploring with Bob
Regular User
"I have always contended that a well-conducted playhouse is a centre of rational recreation, and without rational recreation no community can pretend to have its facultics in proper order."

Said Henry Irving, as he laid the foundation stone to the Victoria Theatre, Salford, 4th October 1899. When he spoke of rational recreation, he was not, of course, talking about the new wave of YouTube explorer videos with clickbait titles.

Moar History

Bertie Crewe was an accomplished theatre architect, prolifically designing theatres during the theatre boom between 1885 and 1915. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, Bertie designed the Victoria Theatre in Lower Broughton. Interestingly, the foundation stone was laid by Henry Irving, who apparently was the muse for Bram Stoker’s character, Dracula. And, perhaps also unsurprisingly, because he regarded Irving as something of a god, Bram Stoker was there too. Bertie presented Irving with a trowel and a mallet to lay the stone and Irving made his brief speech.

Bizarrely enough, when the theatre first opened, the council voted against them serving alcohol, because it interrupted performances. There is no fucking way the bingo players of the late 1980’s would accept that kind of shit. If Ethel had spent a few quid on a blue rinse, she wanted to get smashed on gin and tonic.

In November 1901, only one year after opening, the theatre started showing film. And so popular was that, they increased the seating capacity from 2,000 to 3,000 in 1910. For some reason, the theatre reverted to live performances between 1917 to 1919, before becoming a cinema once more in 1919 until it closed in 1958.

New management tried to open The Victoria as a bingo hall in 1973, but bingo was ahead of it’s time back then and the plan failed. Fast forward to 1980 and the building was awarded a grade two listed status. And at this time, the owners managed to successfully launch a bingo club, which ran up until 2008.

During the 1980’s some absolute weapons ripped the top floor of the building off and replaced it with much less ornate brickwork.

The Explore

As shenanigans go, this was pretty straight forward. @albino-jay and I put on invisibility cloaks to get in. Once in we checked about for squatters with a penchant for stealing camera equipment. And then we got on with the job of exploring and taking snaps.

Hopefully I can put together a set that’s a little different to AlbinoJay’s.

If you were entering the building like a normal person through the front entrance, you immediately we stuck with signs telling you that The Palace Bingo Clubs provide, “Bingo at its best”.

That takes you into an ornate corridor which arcs around toward the centre stage.

Looking from the stage up into the various tiers of seating.

Off to the right is a bar area, so that Ethel could get shitfaced on gin and tonic.

This little office was constructed on the stage as part of the bingo set up.

Above that was this H G Wells type contraption, that was probably used for lighting. Or going back in time.

Behind that and beneath (after promising to try and put together a different set, this one is more or less the same as one of AlbinoJays)…

And then up the stairs…

To find empty rooms in various stages of dereliction. And startled pigeon who couldn’t tell whether the window had a pane of glass in it or not. Either that or it really liked headbutting glass.

Heading back out and onto the second floor we heard shouts coming from the top tier, “Oi you f******s, what are you doing in here. Get out!” And other such friendly greetings. Unlikely to be security, because they were using complete sentences, it turns out it was a @host and @Camera Shy . Nice to have met you, chaps.

Back on with snapping snaps….

The stage.

Some seats, of the seats that remain in place. Most have been ripped out.

And my favourite snap of the set, looking down from the balcony where you wouldn’t want to sit.

Cheers for reading. Hope you enjoy the report. :thumb



Exploring with Bob
Regular User
Simply stunning mate and nice to have mat you too. I hear it’s now sealed good and proper. Turn the bus around it’s off to Camelot.
Cheers, Host - no surprise really, it wasn't a subtle way in and with the owner getting filmed outside it was inevitable. We were lucky getting in while we did. Though it's been open for a while - I'm surprised it hadn't been trashed.

Good whilst it lasted eh ;)
It was! Surprisingly, since everywhere Matt Holmes posts normally sees the tour bus turn up... Except here.

Spot on that fella. Great set
Cheers dude!

Was I really that rude ? :-) no point in adding anymore you've smashed it there.
Haha - less rude and more comical with undertones of, what the fuck if it isn't another explorer - haha. :)


Super Moderator
Staff member
Good read that, I enjoyed it. The thing about the council saying no to boozy times may explain why that tiled room that I suspected was a bar ended up as the paint tin store!

I assume those round windows that were on the floor in the attics are from the damage done to the facade in the 80's?


Exploring with Bob
Regular User
Cheers @dweeb - I always have a crack at rewriting any history I find on the interwebs to try an make it a little less dry / just mention the interesting bits (or the bits I thought were interesting), so I am glad you enjoyed reading it. Oddly enough, I wondered what you'd make of the tiles in that room, knowing you have a thing for tiles. It's looking like I completely missed the attic, or if I did see it, I did not notice the round windows. But, I reckon you're right based on this picture of the building back in the day...

It was a stunning place @Techwreckie !

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