Information for record number MWA5794:
Site of Empire Music Hall, Leicester Road, Nuneaton

Summary The Empire Music Hall was built in 1909 as a skating rink before opening in 1910 as a Music Hall. The building has had a number of different uses.
What Is It?  
Type: Skating Rink, Music Hall, Cinema, Motor Vehicle Showroom, Bakery, Car Factory, Warehouse, Snooker Hall, Nightclub, Gymnasium (Sports)
Period: Modern - Modern (1910 AD - 1937 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Nuneaton and Bedworth
District: Nuneaton and Bedworth, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 36 91
(Data represented on this map shows the current selected record as a single point, this is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent an accurate or complete representation of archaeological sites or features)
Level of Protection National - Old SMR PrefRef (Grade: )
Sites & Monuments Record

Source Number  

1 In the 1880's and early 1900's roller-skating had a short period of popularity, and it was in 1909 that plans were made for a public roller skating rink to be built in Nuneaton. The Empire Rink was built by the Nuneaton Theatre and Entertainments Company on land fronting Leicester Road. Aware that the popularity for roller skating might be short lived it was designed for easy conversion to a music hall. The building was described as being substantially constructed with red brick facings and terracotta dressings, and slated roofs, presenting a handsome elevation to Leicester Road with an ornamental veranda over the principal entrance. An entrance is gained by means of a spacious hall, reached by a flight of steps, to a lofty apartment adapted in every conceivable manner to the purpose for which it was constructed. At the far end of the hall is a gallery, with seating accommodation for about a hundred persons. On two other sides arcades communicate with a wide promenade, the whole encircling a magnificent skating arena of 80 feet by 80 feet, or a total area of nearly 7,000 square feet, lit up by eight arc lamps. At the entrance end of the rink is situated an elevated bandstand with accommodation for 15 performers. In one corner is situated a delightfully cosy café, where afternoon teas and refreshments may be obtained. In addition, are provided ample offices, cloak rooms, skate rooms, and lavatory accommodation. In case of emergency, besides the ordinary doors, there are provided five emergency exits fitted with patent automatic bolts, which open upon pressure being applied. Decoration, tastefully arranged, relieve the building and comprise brilliantly coloured streamers and lanterns, the whole evolving into a veritable fairy land when the lights are on. It should be noted that the floor has been specially prepared by means of the patent Model Electrical Surfacing Machine, as used upon all the American skating rinks. Winslow and Phillips’ ball-bearing skates are provided for the use of visitors. The rink closed in 1910 as the popularity of roller skating waned. A week later it re-opened as the Empire Electric Theatre and music hall. After opening for a few months the popularity of the hall was such that they closed for refurbishment. The refurbishments comprised removing the dividing wall between the main entrance and the corridor, to create a vestibule leading to the balcony and stalls; placing a staircase to the circle; adapting the gents cloakroom into a retiring and smoke room; forming an exit from the pit for an outlet into Back Street; transforming the ladies cloak rooms and skate rooms into six dressing rooms; adapting the café as a bar; broadening the stage to run the whole width of the building, and increasing the depth of it by eight feet, fitting flies so that any size of scenery could be dealt with. In addition, it was considered necessary to install four boxes adjacent to the stage and enlarge the orchestra pit. The stalls accommodated 200 persons and 700 in the pit area; the tiered circle had seats for 400. After the growth of cinema's had impacted on the profitability of the music hall in 1912 it was decided to convert the hall into a picture hall with the Theatre staging a mixture of variety and touring shows. Over time the Empire became solely a cinema which changed hands a number of times. In 1937 the building was leased to C & E Motors and alterations were made to make the building suitable as a car showroom. Around 1946 the building was used as the offices for a car parts factory until 1950 when the site was largely used as a warehouse. The Empire was reopened for public use in the 1970's as a nightclub and snooker hall.

Source No: 1
Source Type: Article in serial
Title: The Empire Music Hall, Nuneaton
Author/originator: Welland V
Page Number:
Source No: 2
Source Type: Map
Title: Map 1902
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1902
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 2500
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Word or Phrase
period Modern The Modern Period, about 1915 AD to the present (the 20th and 21st centuries AD)

In recent years archaeologists have realised the importance of recording modern sites. They do this so that in the future people will be able to look at the remains to help them understand the events to which they are related.
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period modern About 1915 AD to the present (the 20th and 21st centuries AD)

In recent years archaeologists have realised the importance of recording modern sites. They do this so that in the future people will be able to look at the remains to help them understand the events to which they are related.
more ->
monument BANDSTAND * A platform or other structure for the use of a band of musicians. back
monument SITE * Unclassifiable site with minimal information. Specify site type wherever possible. back
monument BUILDING * A structure with a roof to provide shelter from the weather for occupants or contents. Use specific type where known. back
monument BAKERY * A commercial bakery or bread factory. If domestic use BAKEHOUSE. back
monument FLOOR * A layer of stone, brick or boards, etc, on which people tread. Use broader site type where known. back
monument SHOWROOM * A room used for the display of merchandise for sale. back
monument MODEL * Use for miniaturized monument type. Index with actual monument type where possible. back
monument APARTMENT * A room or suite of rooms used as dwellings, eg. in private houses, hotels or tenement houses. back
monument WAREHOUSE * A building or part of a building used for the storage of goods or merchandise. Use more specific type where known. back
monument FAIR * A site where a periodical gathering of buyers, sellers and entertainers, meet at a time ordained by charter or statute or by ancient custom. back
monument ROAD * A way between different places, used by horses, travellers on foot and vehicles. back
monument PIT * A hole or cavity in the ground, either natural or the result of excavation. Use more specific type where known. back
monument SEAT * An external structure used to sit on. back
monument MUSIC HALL * A hall licensed for musical performances, singing, dancing and other entertainments, exclusive of dramatic performance. back
monument NIGHTCLUB * An establishment open at night for refreshment and entertainment. back
monument CAR FACTORY * A factory where cars are manufactured. back
monument SQUARE * An open space or area, usually square in plan, in a town or city, enclosed by residential and/or commercial buildings, frequently containing a garden or laid out with trees. back
monument MOTOR VEHICLE SHOWROOM * A building or room where motor vehicles are exhibited for sale. back
monument SKATING RINK * A piece of ice or a floor, often within a building, used for skating. back
monument FACTORY * A building or complex, housing powered machinery and employing a large workforce for manufacturing purposes. Use specific monument type where known. back
monument OFFICE * A building or room where business, administrative or professional activities are conducted. Use specific type where known. back
monument STEPS * A series of flat-topped structures, usually made of stone or wood, used to facilitate a person's movement from one level to another. back
monument SNOOKER HALL * A building with facilities for playing snooker. back
monument WALL * An enclosing structure composed of bricks, stones or similar materials, laid in courses. Use specific type where known. back
monument CINEMA * A building where people pay to see films and 'moving pictures'. back
monument PROMENADE * A place for strolling, public walks, etc. Usually associated with coastal resorts. back
monument THEATRE * A building used primarily for the performing of plays. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record