SJ8990 : Mersey Square

taken 8 years ago, near to Stockport, Great Britain

This is 1 of 6 images, with title Mersey Square in this square
Mersey Square
Mersey Square
In the foreground is the free shuttle bus around town which has just left the bus station and is heading towards St Petersgate. In the background is the Stockport Plaza. Behind the sheets it is undergoing restoration and due to re-open in December 2009. LinkExternal link
The Stockport Plaza
Mersey Square, in Stockport, is dominated by the towering, faience-tiled façade of the Plaza Cinema, an Art-Deco styled building which opened in 1932 as "The Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre"; construction had been particularly difficult as the site involved cutting into the sandstone cliff at the rear from which 10000 tons of rock had to be excavated to a depth of 42 feet.

The Plaza first opened its doors to the public on 7th October 1932, with a charity show for Stockport Infirmary. The films shown were "Jailbird", starring Laurel and Hardy, and "Out of the Blue" with Gene Gerrard and Jessie Matthews.

It was refurbished in the 1950s and could cater for Cinemascope and 3-D. Live entertainment took place on Saturday evenings featuring local musicians and Sunday jazz concerts followed. In 1960, the Plaza staged its first pantomime with the Dallas Boys in "Babes In The Wood".

In 1965 the Plaza was sold to the Mecca Leisure Group for conversion to a bingo hall. Its final show was on 31st December 1966 and featured Jerry Lee Lewis in "Three on a Coach" and Audie Murphy in "The Texican" with William Starr at the organ. In February 1967 it reopened as Mecca Bingo.

In the 1970s the Café Lounge was converted into "Samantha's" nightclub but this later converted into extra bingo seating.

At the time of its closure in 1998 The Plaza was the last remaining building in the Borough of Stockport still capable of full-scale theatre and entertainment use and it had been Grade II* listed by English Heritage (Historic England List Entry Number: 1257697 LinkExternal link Heritage Gateway).

The building was sold to the Stockport Plaza Trust in March 2000 and, after massive community and volunteer effort, audiences took their seats for the opening show on 7th October 2000. The Plaza was closed temporarily in 2009 to allow a £3.2 million programme to restore and refurbish it as a cinema and theatre, showing classic films and staging live shows.

More information can be found on the Plaza's own website LinkExternal link
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Grid Square
SJ8990, 1494 images   (more nearby )
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Friday, 16 October, 2009   (more nearby)
Friday, 16 October, 2009
Town square   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 893 902 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:24.5535N 2:9.6914W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 893 903
View Direction
Southeast (about 135 degrees)
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Image classification(about): Geograph
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