On this day … 22 December 1900

The Preston Guardian reported the opening night of the New Prince’s Theatre, built on the site of the New Gaiety Palace of Varieties, which had been destroyed by fire earlier in the year.

The following information on the fire and rebuilding is taken from the Arthur Lloyd music hall and theatre website http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/PrestonTheatres.htm#princes

The theatre had been checked and was safe at 11.20pm, but by 3am the next morning, smoke was seen issuing from the building by PC McLean, who raised the alarm. The fire station was only a few yards distant, and the firemen were soon attending the blaze, but favoured by a strong breeze, the flames took hold and the stage, orchestra pit, dressing rooms and property room were destroyed. The grand piano was charred to cinders, but the base fiddle belonging to Mr Chaloner was untouched. The building was insured, and the damage estimated at £2000.

A whole range of fire safety precautions was incorporated in the new theatre ‘and it was claimed that the whole house could be emptied in three minutes’.

Later owned and managed by Preston’s own film maker Will Onda (pictured centre below outside the theatre), the Prince’s was demolished in 1964 to make way for the Buckingham Bingo Hall and St John’s shopping centre.

Demolition of the Prince's Theatre Preston 1964
The demolition of the theatre

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