View Full Version : Burnley Empire, March 2013

28-03-2013, 05:43 PM
With Ptchaw not interested in going with me, this was my first solo explore (that's new territory) in my 4-5 years of exploring! Finally grown a pair and got out without someone there to go with me! Course that means that whenever pigeons rustle and flap and whenever plasterwork crumbles off the wall you think you're not alone! BTW, for those who are interested in the history check out the entries from Cinema Treasures (http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/36755) and the Theatres Trust (http://www.theatrestrust.org.uk/resources/theatres/show/2012-empire-burnley).

First thoughts
I think it's fair to say that whilst this isn't as lavishly detailed or kitted out as much as other UK cinemas/theatres/bingo halls, for example the Hulme Hippodrome or the State Cinema (Essex), this has been unfairly overlooked by explorers since its closure in 1995. At the same time, this has completely been ignored by chavs and pikeys. That's all well and good, but sadly its condition is becoming poorer by the day with dry rot and water ingress in several areas with the roof caving in in certain areas; the stage was too dangerous to set foot on, and one side of the circle and part of the back row is caving in in under its own weight, though the vast majority is immaculate. The gods which was cordoned is also in poor condition, also suffering from water ingress at one end. Above all though it was very positive to see that most if not all of the decorative plasterwork has survived and remains in very good condition to this day.

It remains 4th on the Theatre's Trust high risk register, but with the building in the hands of the elusive businessman J. Stanbury the council are unable to do much. I don't think this will go the way of Nelson's Palace Theatre (a tragic loss to say the least), but given how deprived Burnley is as an area and there already being a theatre in the town what chance does it have? Most would be opposed to it, but I honestly think the only solution is to sell it off for a different purpose.

The visit
Yes it has avoided the evil clutches of local kids, but then whilst this isn't a fortress, access is far from obvious or pleasant. Without giving away any details, access was one of the tightest and most painful ways I've ever had to use. After my experience at the Liverpool Futurist (next on the hitlist), hearing screeching from the walls scared me to say the least, thinking there would be an army of rats nesting inside. Luckily it was just a family of pigeons.

The floor is pretty dodgy from dry rot, but luckily it's just a suspended floor so no problems there!

Proscenium box, now cordoned off

The main foyer, with some surviving plasterwork hidden behind a suspended ceiling.




The gods


The projection room

One of the original ticket booths from when it was a cinema. This one led to the gods.




The original exterior, now a shadow of its former self

The tacky modern entrance from when it became Coral Bingo

Who knows what the future holds for this place? Either way, I reckon if this gets lost then Burnley will lose most of the little heart it retains today. With Nelson's Palace Theatre demolished for a car park, this would be terrible to lose.

Hope you enjoyed,

Love TBM x

28-03-2013, 08:30 PM
I did one explore on my own and nearly got eaten by tramps so I never will again

mr beardy
28-03-2013, 08:47 PM
Looks not bad does this

29-03-2013, 08:18 PM
Great report and I loved this place when I did it

30-03-2013, 10:24 AM
Great report and I loved this place when I did it

Is there anywhere you haven't done Scrappy? :lol: Fancy a return visit?

Great report this. I only heard about this place the other week off one of my mates in Burnley. Definitely gonna get over there for a look.

30-03-2013, 07:46 PM
nice pics and report :D

01-04-2013, 05:51 PM
good to see another report on it. Its in a dire state of repair and it would be sad to lose it.

02-04-2013, 10:24 PM
Well documented fella...

04-04-2013, 07:37 PM
Job well done :thumb