I was reading about the History
of the Argyle Theatre and that it was bombed in the blitz and condemned but interestingly it wasn't knocked down, the dressing room complex and Argyle Hotel survived.
The theatre carried on as a travelling theatre.The Argyle Theatre for Youth by Geoff Unwin
A visitor to this site, Geoff Unwin, who performed for the Argyle Theatre For Youth and was also the composer of the title song score for the feature film 'On the Buses,' has sent in some information and images of the Argyle Theatre, he writes:-
'Dennis Clarke, who ran the Theatre in the first half of the 20th Century, had three sons, two of which - Tom and Gerrard - ran the Argyle Theatre for Youth from the dressing room complex of the Theatre that survived the blitz.
It was a traveling fit-up theatre which I joined in 1957 for a production of Alice in Wonderland, touring schools all over the British Isles. (I played the white rabbit and Judy Vague - a great niece of Hollywood's Vera Vague - played Alice.)
Uncle Tom, as we called him often told us stories of his childhood in the Theatre. He remembered the first movies being shown there on a huge white linen sheet which was suspended from the ceiling in the centre of the Theatre. Firemen sprayed water on it in order for those on both sides of the screen to view the hazy images. No-one complained about the water running down the isles apparently!
In 1949 Tom Clarke bought a job-lot of costumes from Tom Arnold and these were used in his touring productions as well as being hired out to other companies. I remember 'uncle Tom' opening a locked door in the rabbit warren of dressing rooms to let us look out into the ruin of the Theatre. It was open to the sky and still contained huge mounds of bricks which had been left there since the war.
This was in 1957, I don't think it would be allowed today.
The Theatre for Youth continued into the 1970's. In the early 1980's the Argyle Pub
, attached to the Theatre, was condemned as 'unsafe' and in danger of collapse and was finally demolished along with the remains of the Theatre.
Today there is no sign of there ever having been such a wonderful Theatre with its own adjoining Pub
ever having existed on the barren space which is now a car park.' (For those that don't know, this is the car park opposite the old post office) - Text courtesy Geoff Unwin. http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/BirkenheadTheatres.htm
I found it strange that they left the ruins for so long. Did they have urban explorers back then?
An old map from 1955 still showing the Argyle Theatre and ruins behind it. A 1970 map also shows the ruins still there.