SJ8990 : Plaza Steps & Mersey Cafe

taken 9 months ago, near to Stockport, Great Britain

Plaza Steps & Mersey Cafe
Plaza Steps & Mersey Cafe

Public steps to the west side of the Plaza Theatre affording an important pedestrian route between Mersey Square and St Peter's Square – these monumental steps were constructed in reinforced concrete to replicate Portland stone by the Corporation in 1929. Before the Plaza was built in 1932 they were known as Lawrence Street Steps.

The Plaza steps are listed Grade II LinkExternal link

The Mersey Cafe on the right was known for short time as The Viaduct Carvery and Diner but has now reverted to its former name.
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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SJ8990, 1443 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Friday, 17 February, 2017   (more nearby)
Submitted
Tuesday, 11 July, 2017
Geographical Context
Business, Retail, Services  City, Town centre 
Date (from Tags)
1929 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 8934 9025 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:24.5372N 2:9.7094W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 8934 9026
View Direction
Southeast (about 135 degrees)
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Other Tags
Steps  Reinforced Concrete  Portland Stone  Grade II Listed  Cafe 

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Image Type (about): geograph 
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