Author Topic: Barnards Palace of Varieties  (Read 158 times)

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Offline Colin walsh

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2020, 09:16:35 PM »
When the yard closed,I took a job with watts charities ,handy man,.watts owned a large part of that area of Chatham,remember the "black & white "milk bar ,the labour exchange ,with the "sun insurance "offices over the top plus the second hand car dealers,and many more buildings in the area ,
One of there houses backed onto the Barnards site the story was it had been used as an overflow dressing rooms ,had a small covered walk way in the garden that ended near the back of the building that may have occupied the Barnards site.lovly job,lovly lady boss,had to move, on subsistence wages

Offline Lyn L

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2020, 08:25:03 PM »
Nice to see the photos. My late M-i-L worked there, in fact it could even be her in the first photo having just left there to go home . Hard to tell now, was over 50 yrs ago now.


Offline shoot999

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2020, 07:04:27 PM »
The site as it was in the 60s; with the 105 number visible for reference.

Online MartinR

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2020, 05:41:38 PM »
It wouldn't be two tuppeny coins, there was no such thing.  At that date the standard coins were ¼d, ½d, 1d, 3d, 6d, 1/-, 2/- and 2/6.  An old penny was about the size of a 2p coin, so perhaps what you saw was two pennies.  I enclose a scan of an old penny, a sixpence and for size comparison a new penny.

Offline castle261

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2020, 03:47:07 PM »
Anyone younger wants to know about ` Lyon`s ` corner houses, should look at the Harrison Ford
film, `Hanover Street`on as a T.V. film on at the moment. 1940/45.
One scene shows Harrison paying for a pot of tea, it looks like to me, two tuppenny coins, maybe
two half crowns, more like it. As Snodlandmalc worked there in the 1970`s, how much would a pot
of tea, cost then ? --------- I have a paper back book, all about Lyon` girls training.

Offline snodlandmalc

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2020, 01:40:56 PM »
In the 1970's I worked at lyon's restuarant at 109,the staff changing room and storeroom was on a lower level accessed by a very old set of wooden stairs.I was told that this was part of the backstage area of an old music hall that once stood on the site.The back of the building definately looked a lot older and might be the only bit of Barnards still there.

Offline Pete

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2020, 09:11:34 AM »
Thanks Lyn, looking at it on google maps amazed to see the "105" street number has survived

Offline Smiffy

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2020, 10:32:07 PM »
The Theatre Royal was sited practically opposite Barnard's.

Offline shoot999

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2020, 05:43:08 PM »
The Empire was opposite  Hammond Hill, where the Medway County Court is now.

Offline Lyn L

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2020, 04:11:23 PM »
Pete I think you will find the Empire was further along towards Rochester.  Barnards was opposite Manor Road if I remember rightly .


Offline Pete

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2020, 01:53:30 PM »
Did it get rebuilt as The Empire (I think) ? I remember a seedy theatre about there in the 1950s, photos of scantily dressed ladies. Mum always  dragged me across the road just before it  ;)


Offline castle261

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2020, 10:45:58 AM »
I stand corrected -- Smiffy --  :(

Offline Smiffy

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2020, 03:37:34 AM »
Hi castle261,
 
I think you might be remembering Watt's Place which was nearby - it had a lamppost in the middle and lots of odd little shops. I have a photograph or two which I can upload that may jog some peoples memories. It's an interesting and forgotten part of old Chatham.

Offline castle261

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Re: Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2020, 12:56:54 AM »
I remember Holborn Lane. A quaint lane with small shops, I remember a lamppost, in the middle
of the lane. There was a cafe, & all sort`s of shops, I liked it-- I Do not like the `used car` lots in
Medway Street, soon to be swallowed up, in the new development, I hope.
I do not remember the fire in 1934 at Barnard`s, when I would have been seven.

Offline Smiffy

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Barnards Palace of Varieties
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2020, 12:18:48 AM »

Situated near Holborn Lane in Chatham high street, the "Granby Coffee Tavern" or "Granby Head" as it was also known, was taken over from its former proprietor, a Mr. Harrison, in around 1850. It was then renamed "The Railway Saloon" by its new owner, local businessman Daniel "Old Dan" Barnard. With its adjoining concert hall, it was renamed again in 1862 as "The Railway Tavern".
 
Map showing the location of the Railway Tavern. It is visible in the centre of this photograph, taken before 1885:



After his death in 1879 the business was taken over by his son, Lou Barnard. This however, did not last, as just six years later in May 1885 the entire tavern and concert hall caught fire and were both burned to the ground.

By this time, music halls were flourishing and so Lou took it upon himself to clear the site and build completely new purpose-built premises which would be known as "Barnard's Palace of Varieties". Designed by J. W. Nash of Rochester and costing approximately £4.500 there was accommodation for over 1000 patrons. It was set to become an almost immediate success, with all of the countries top acts appearing over the years. This even included a young Charlie Chaplin before he went on to become world famous.
 
The Palace of Varieties around 1900:



It was in Chatham at this time that the twice nightly performance was first introduced. This was to enable servicemen to attend the theatre for an early performance as they usually had to be back in barracks by 8pm. Civilians usually attended the later one.
 
Moving pictures in the form of the Bioscope were shown as an added novelty during the early part of the century. This was the probable cause of a fire in 1910, which was quickly brought under control. There was another one in 1930, although little damage was done as the fire was small and did not take hold.
 
A newspaper advert showing the type of acts appearing in 1910:



However, on the night of 18th March 1934, a more serious fire, probably caused by a discarded cigarette which went unnoticed, resulted in the entire building catching fire. Despite the best efforts of the local Fire Brigades, nothing could be done to save it and Barnards Palace of Varieties was no more.
 
Undergoing demolition following the fire of 1934:



Large crowds gathered to view the conflagration, which was visible for miles around. One of the onlookers was my own mother, who remembered it vividly.  This was to leave the Empire Theatre as the main entertainment centre, a spot which it continued to occupy for the next 26 years before it, too, went the way of Barnard's Palace of Varieties.