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Argyle Theatre #1079843
25th Sep 2020 12:23pm
25th Sep 2020 12:23pm
Joined: Oct 2013
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birkenhead
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mikeeb Offline OP

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mikeeb  Offline OP

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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.
[Linked Image]

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? laugh

An old map from 1955 still showing the Argyle Theatre and ruins behind it. A 1970 map also shows the ruins still there.

Attached Files
Argyle Theatre ruins.png (38 downloads)
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Re: Argyle Theatre [Re: mikeeb] #1079854
26th Sep 2020 9:56am
26th Sep 2020 9:56am
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france
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joney Offline
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france
I used to go to performances in the 30s with my sister who was going out with a guy called Dominick Ball who operated the limes and this got us in free. His mother ran a theatrical boarding house in the Woodlands. There used to be a barbers in little Grange Road whose walls where covered with autographed photos of stars who had performed at the Argyle, however that was bombed as well which is a great pity as a chunk of Argyle History went.

Re: Argyle Theatre [Re: mikeeb] #1080026
10th Oct 2020 2:52am
10th Oct 2020 2:52am
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tigertiger1953 Offline

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BSM (British School of Motoring) used part of it as an office in the 1960s before moving further down Argyle Street. The new Argyle Pub which had a brief life near the site of the 'new' market used the old ticket office door from the theatre complete with hatch as an internal Pub door. Where has that gone now? Probably went in a skip when they knocked it down. I remember looking at it with my father and famous Birkenhead boxer Leo Molloy and we could see the marks where people had placed their coins over the years.

Re: Argyle Theatre [Re: tigertiger1953] #1080094
13th Oct 2020 4:03pm
13th Oct 2020 4:03pm
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Birkenhead
diggingdeeper Offline

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diggingdeeper  Offline

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Originally Posted by tigertiger1953
BSM (British School of Motoring) used part of it as an office in the 1960s before moving further down Argyle Street.


Before that it was the Argyle School of Motoring


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Re: Argyle Theatre [Re: diggingdeeper] #1080103
13th Oct 2020 10:17pm
13th Oct 2020 10:17pm
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Birkenhead
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derekdwc Online content

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Originally Posted by diggingdeeper
Originally Posted by tigertiger1953
BSM (British School of Motoring) used part of it as an office in the 1960s before moving further down Argyle Street.


Before that it was the Argyle School of Motoring



the rooms above British School of Motoring further down Argyle Street were used for dances etc by the football teams of the Old Instonians in the 1960s


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