Landmark Oldham hall where The Beatles once played is set to be demolished

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Originally built in 1908, it was named the Grand Theatre and designed by architects Thomas Taylor and Ernest Simister who also designed the Chadderton Town Hall.

A former snooker hall where the where The Beatles performed in their heyday is to be demolished.

The unlisted red brick building in the heart of Oldham,  was previously Riley’s Snooker Hall but has been standing empty for several years.

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A landmark for anyone entering the town on the tram, the King Street property was used as a training ground for the Rainy City Roller Derby team under the name of the Thunderdome. However the group were not able to renew their lease and vacated the venue in 2020.

The club said the owner of the building had been in talks with Oldham council to buy the venue. But this did not go ahead, and it was sold in May last year for £825k, according to the Land Registry.

Originally built in 1908, it was named the Grand Theatre and designed by architects Thomas Taylor and Ernest Simister who also designed the Chadderton Town Hall.

According to records of the architects of Greater Manchester, the interior is said to have been ‘elaborate’ and consisted of several levels with boxes, a large stage and an orchestra pit.

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The theatre was radically altered in 1937 by Gaumont Super Cinemas when the auditorium was gutted and transformed into a much simpler space of just stalls and one circle seating totalling 1,842 for a 1930s cinema.

Archive footage shows the Gaumont cinema being opened by George Formby as the guest of honour, who was received by the Mayor and watched by a large crowd.

After closing as a cinema in 1961 it was later used as a concert hall called The Astoria Ballroom and the Beatles performed there in their only Oldham gig in 1963.

It was also used as a bowling alley and a nightclub under numerous different names, and also as a snooker hall but became disused and was nearly demolished in 2008-2009 before being taken off by the roller derby group.

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Now an application has been lodged with Oldham council for its demolition. The applicant, Al Dallal of Properties Ade Limited is planning to knock it down, with a ‘new development to be proposed’ – however there are currently no more details of this.  But planning documents say the redevelopment is proposed at a later date.

There have been no comments lodged against the application, and a decision is expected to be made by the authority after mid-May.

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