Morecambe’s forgotten music hall

Former Devonshire Hall music hall, Morecambe, Lancashire

Former Devonshire Hall music hall, Morecambe, Lancashire

In the back streets of Morecambe’s West End, usefully employed as a specialist community centre, lies a long-forgotten music hall.

The Devonshire Hall was built in 1899, seating eight hundred people, two hundred of them in the balcony.

It consists of a ground-floor that must always have been shops, and at first-floor level a flat-floored auditorium.

Dangerfield’s General Entertainment Guide (1901) informs potential letting clients of “Has no dramatic license [sic];…  Platform permanent 14 by 12 deep with electric footlights;  Terms one night 40s, a reduction made for a longer period;  Extras electric light per meter;  Has dressing rooms”.

The building was divided in the 1930s, the upper floor used a snooker hall while the ground floor became a paint factory.

In 1996 it became a music centre and rehearsal space, The Hothouse, for More Music, a community music and education charity founded in 1993:  http://www.moremusic.org.uk.

The first phase of renovation by seven architecture [sic] [http://www.sevenarchitecture.co.uk/projects/category/id/1/project/2] was completed in 2011.  The fine original timber and steel roof remains in situ but is invisible and inaccessible above a suspended ceiling.

The not-for-profit occupiers have put the building to excellent purpose – http://www.thevisitor.co.uk/news/morecambe-and-district-news/more-music-announced-as-chosen-charity-1-5471446 – and given it a better chance of survival than most of Morecambe’s entertainment heritage has had.

For details of Mike Higginbottom’s lectures on seaside architecture, Away from it all:  the heritage of holiday resorts, Beside the Seaside:  the architecture of British coastal resorts, Blackpool’s Seaside Heritage and Yorkshire’s Seaside Heritage, please click here.

The 80-page, A4 handbook for the 2013 Lancashire’s Seaside Heritage tour, with text, photographs, maps and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £15.00 including postage and packing.  To view sample pages click here.  Please send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.

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