The Theatres Trust

ABC (Blackpool)

  • Theatre ID
  • Built / Converted
  • Dates of use
    • : ?1895-1981
  • Current state
    Fragmental remains
  • Current use
    Converted to other use (Nightclub)
  • Address
    Church Street/King Street, Blackpool, Lancashire, England


Built as a large ballroom/music hall called the Empire with a flat floor and gallery around three sides, and shallow stage. Converted to circus in 1900 and renamed Hippodrome. In 1910 the arena was removed and the main floor raked for cinema use, with seasonal variety. After use as a TV theatre for live variety shows in the 1950s and early 60s the theatre was almost totally rebuilt in 1963, leaving very little of the Hippodrome. The outer side, front and rear walls follow the footprint of the old theatre and are probably three-quarters height of the original. Designed by C J Foster (chief architect for ABC), it consisted of a stalls and deep single balcony with a combined capacity of 1934. The ceiling was lit by hundreds of small individual lamps set in gold moulded panels concealing ventilation and sound. After many years of theatre usage the auditorium was split into three cinemas. The stage, orchestra pit and original (1963) proscenium and front stalls and dressing rooms all survive behind the screens of 2 & 3, but are nothing to excite. The cinema closed in 1998 and subsequently re-opened in December 2002 as a nightclub.

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Exterior of the site previously occupied by the ABC Theatre, Blackpool, 1995
© Ian Grundy

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  • Other names
    Empire, Hippodrome; Kings (briefly), ABC, later: Cannon, MGM
  • Events
    • Use: ?1895-1981
    • 1895 Design/Construction:
      • John Dent Harker - Architect
    • 1900 Alteration: converted to circus
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1910 Alteration: arena removed; main floor raked
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1912 Owner/Management: J A Barraclough, lessee
    • 1929 Owner/Management: Union, owners, continuing as ABC etc
    • 1963 Design/Construction:
      • C J Hanson (Blackpool) - Consultant: Plasterwork
      • Cosmos (Glasgow) - Consultant: Decoration
      • London Mosaics Ltd - Consultant: Terrazo Mosaics And Tiling
    • 1963 Alteration: almost totally rebuilt
      • C J Foster - Architect
    • 1981 Alteration: tripled
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 2002 Alteration: converted to night club
      • Unknown - Architect
  • Capacities
    • Later: 1929: 2820 1949: 1878 1963: 1934 1972: 1982
  • Listings
    • Grade Not listed
  • Stage type
    • 1962: Proscenium raked
  • Dimensions
    • Stage dimensions: 1963: 8.69m deep x 19.51m with 6.1m revolve
    • Proscenium width: 1972: 64 ft 1997: 19.51 m
    • Orchestra pit: Original - from 1910?

Of the period

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Chelsea Palace

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Side elevation of the site previously occupied by The Royal Pier Theatre, Aberystwyth, 1998
Royal Pier Pavilion

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