The Palace Theater on Union Street, Plymouth was built for the Livermore Brothers in 1898 by the architects Wimperis and Arber as a Music Hall and Variety Theater, and formed part of a development which also included an Hotel called the Grand Western Hotel.
The Theater opened as the New Palace Theater on Monday September the 5th 1898 with a variety show. The auditorium consisted of stalls and pit, grand circle, gallery, and eight stage boxes, four on each side of the proscenium, and was built on the cantilever principle with a capacity of some 2,500 people. Sadly the original lavish auditorium and stage house were completely destroyed only three months after the Theater opened by a serious fire on the 23rd of December 1898. The fire started at night on stage but as the safety curtain had not been lowered for the night the fire spread quickly to the auditorium.
The ERA reported it in their 24th of December 1898 edition saying: 'The new Palace Theater of Varieties at Plymouth was seriously damaged by fire on Friday morning. The flames broke out shortly before midnight, and within an hour and a half, owing to a strong south-east wind, the whole of the stage, scenery, and dressing-rooms from the ground to the roof were demolished.
The first signs of fire were discovered between half-past twelve and a quarter to one o'clock. The usual performance had taken place in the evening, and a large audience had been present to witness the programme, which included, among other turns, a naval spectacular scene representing the Battle of Trafalgar. When the house was closed, at the end of the performance, everything seemed safe as usual. Firemen were on duty in the house while the performance was in progress, but no one bad been left in charge. The fire was, therefore, first seen from the outside.
glare was perceived by a policeman near the stage entrance.
Every effort was directed to prevent the spread of the flames to the auditorium, but unfortunately it was utterly impossible to gain access to the fireproof curtain. From the first the fierceness of the flames cut off access to the stage. If this curtain could have been lowered the area of the fire might have been at once restricted. The effect of the fire was to utterly destroy everything connected with the stage, and to do an immense amount of damage to the auditorium. All the beautiful scheme of decoration, upon which a large amount of money was expended, has been irretrievably ruined. Happily the facade and the grand staircase, which are among the most striking portions of a very fine building, escaped destruction. In the rest of the house the damage was very great. The fire is believed to have been caused by some combustibles used in the Battle of Trafalgar scene.
The Theater reopened on Monday the 22nd of May 1899 and it is remarkable how quickly the building was restored and refurbished The building was converted for Bingo in 1961 and then had a varied life of occasional Theatre use and Bingo for many years until it was once more refurbished in 1978 and reopened as a live Theater again. In 1982 the new Theater Royal opened in Plymouth and this was a major blow for the old Palace, sadly the building's short revival to live Theatre was to end the following year and in 1983 the Theatre closed and was converted for nightclub use as the Academy
The academy was one of the biggest clubs in Plymouth until 08/05/06 after a raid at 1.15am which saw up to 140 officers in riot gear storm the main entrance after undercover police suspected that drugs were being sold on the premises the club was then shut down the same night and has been unable to operate since in which it now stands empty and falling apart.
Recently been bought by a charity who are in the process of doing the building up.
Full set available at http://www.urbanexboi.co.uk
Visited with Maniac, The_Raw and MiaroDigital.
The tower was originally a Martello tower which was part of the UK Napoleonic defenses, there were over 100 of these towers built along the south coast in the 1800's. It was converted into a water tower in 1902 (in fact there are two of them on the site, both identical) and the one we climbed around also had a lookout post attached to it which why it had those extra rooms on the side. (Thanks to Maniac for this information)
Later, the area was used for training of young navy recruits.
Unfortunately we didn't get much further than the tower and couldn't explore the other buildings, because shortly afterwards we were escorted "friendly" from the ground...
A bit of history, shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia. HMS Ganges was a training ship and later stone frigate of the Royal Navy. She was established as a boys' training establishment in 1865, and was based aboard a number of hulks before moving ashore. She was based alternately in Falmouth, Harwich (from 1899) and Shotley (from 1905). She remained in service at RNTE Shotley until October 1976. In 1907 the 143-foot (44 m) high mast of the old steam corvette HMS Cordelia was erected. It would become a major landmark. The old HMS Minotaur had been HMS Ganges since 1906, but was renamed HMS Ganges II on 25 April 1908.
This was a great explore, I loved it. Actually I love all of them, except 1 but that's another story all together! I had seen a little about this but not too much, not many recent reports at all so decided to go and try our luck.
Access was really easy. I really came for that swimming pool! Got in to a few out buildings but not too many considering how many were actually on site. Found a few little treasures in them. Then we made our way to the swimming pool. I definitely didn't anticipate a 20ft climb that's for sure but if I wanted in on the pool it was the only way so up I went, with some help of course!
It was amazing, a little graffiti but relatively no damage. Lots to see including the old boiler room, changing rooms and a junk room where we found a police shield! I had seen police training manuals in one of the out buildings so presumed they had used this place for training.
Old Tannoy Machine
HMS Cordelia mast, which was climbed up to the platform, a bit rotten after that.
Sorry.. but had to have a pool selfie
Hope you enjoyed them
This was our last place of the day, it had been a long one and I still had a couple of hours at least to get home from here. all in all it was the best day xplore I have done so far, with 6 great locations with only one fail.
The little cottage was down unmade roads in the middle of nowhere, lucky it was a hot day as if it had been raining or just wet we would have had quite a long walk as I would never of got the car down there. I wanted to call it nettle farm as they were surrounding it and I got stung so many times going in and out of the place.
Not the best but still some nice features left.
well that's it from this tour. I still have another 4 or 5 reports to post soon
After Cwm Coke we checked out a couple of possible new places one of which was well sealed and the other appeared to be currently occupied by workers (on a Sunday!) so we sacked them off for another day and started to head home via this factory which I had pinned for some time as something to look at at some point if I was in the area, but I thought it was long gone until I found a post about it on another forum from April this year.
From other photos it looks like we missed a nice store room but other than that saw the lot, it's largely stripped, looking like planned demolition was abandoned, but a nice chilled wander. After closure it looked like parts of it were split into separate small units as we found some interesting remains in a few areas that obviously weren't from it's original purpose.
Thanks for looking, more here https://www.flickr.com/photos/mookie427/sets/72157645021050720/