Entertainment & Arts

Morecambe theatre's glorious past

Morecambe's grand Winter Gardens theatre once held 3,500 people and hosted Laurel and Hardy and Sir Edward Elgar - but has been closed for 35 years and is on a list of "theatres at risk".

Evelyn Archer, who is leading a restoration campaign, provides a glimpse at the venue's faded glamour.

The theatre was built in 1897 at the height of the British seaside boom, but became a victim of the rise of television and foreign holidays and closed in 1977.

It is now probably the last remaining hall of its kind in the UK, according to the Theatres Trust, who have included it on their latest Theatres At Risk register.

Campaigners bought the theatre in 2006 but an application for £12.8m of funding was unsuccessful in 2009. They now host occasional events in an attempt to raise the money to patch it up and slowly restore it to its former glory.

Interview by Ian Youngs. Photos courtesy of Ian Hughes, Ian Youngs, Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust, Getty Images and BFI National Archive. Slideshow production by Paul Kerley.

Music: Charlie Higgins - All Poshed Up With My Daisies in My Hand; Sir Edward Elgar - Enigma Variations (Nimrod); Jack Parnell and his Orchestra - Summertime.

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