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Remember The Queens Hall
The Queens Hall was a local landmark. We thought it would always be there…
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Making music is part of Widnes’s Heritage, it is what people do round here. Many people’s memories are tied to music events which took place at The Queens Hall. Local people were devastated when the building was closed and boarded up in 2004, as was The Queens Hall Studio next to it in Lacey Street. The final event ever was Closing Time on April 24th, 2004. Local musicians of all ages performed, local people of ages danced.
After that, filled with rainwater and pigeons, it slowly rotted away.
People were angry when it was demolished in 2012, but The Studio had already been saved thanks to LOOSE volunteers and support from the local community.
The Queens Hall had been a significant live music venue and theatre, and was also used for a variety of community events and civic functions. There were variety shows, model railway exhibitions, Widnes Horticultural Show, wrestling and boxing, Gang Shows put on by Widnes Scouts, dances and discos, and wedding receptions. The building had been there for almost 150 years.
Built in 1864, as Victoria Road Wesleyan Methodist Church,some of the older members of the community remember it as a church, as it didn’t close until 1953. From 1849 onwards Widnes had rapidly developed from being sparsely populated marshland, where people farmed and fished to being a centre of the chemical industry, with terrible consequences.
By 1881, it was described in The Daily News as “the dirtiest, ugliest, most depressing town in England.” Widnes Corporation bought the building in 1953 when the church closed and gave it a typically 50s make-over. It opened as The Queens Hall on May 1st 1957, Alderman Thomas Swale performed the opening ceremony.