top of page

Sketch of the Royal Muncaster Theatre, Bootle, Liverpool - From 'The Playgoer' of 1901 


The Royal Muncaster Theatre / Strand Cinema on fire in July 1964

(Click photos to enlarge)
muncaster1890 (1).jpg

Newpaper cutting announcung the opening of The Royal Muncaster 

The Royal Muncaster Theatre was the first purpose-built Theatre to open in Bootle. Building work began on the Theatre in 1888 and it was constructed to plans drawn up by the owner, Mr. Harry Pennington, next door to the Muncaster Hotel. Unfortunately, Harry Pennington was never to see his Theatre finished as he died in August of that year and building work was suspended until his sons John and James, took control of the project the following year. The Theatre was finally completed in 1890 and opened on the 6th of October that year under the new leaseholders, H. T Denyer and Harris Fineberg who was the son of Issac Fineberg who owned the Star Music Hall at the time, now the Playhouse Theatre.

The Stage of the Theatre had a depth of 25 feet and a proscenium opening of 24 feet wide by 20 feet high and was also equipped with an iron fireproof curtain.

The Theatre opened as a Variety Theatre and remained so until 1893 when the Penningtons took over the lease again and ran it as a playhouse for three weeks out of every four, and put on Variety for the forth.

In 1901 the Theatre was equipped with Electric lighting to replace the original gas installation and was soon also showing the early incarnation of cinema by the American Bioscope Company.

Next door, the Muncaster Arms served patrons and performers of the theatre for many years. Years later, it would become a place for local bands to perform and rehearse, with gigs being offered in the pub and the upstairs being turned into make-shift practice rooms  - Nick Davies from the band Subliminal Cuts -who rehearsed above the Muncaster - recalls "We would rehearse upstairs much to the annoyance of the pub regulars below, we weren't there very long as we were too loud!"

(Words and images courtesy of Arthur Lloyd -
Easter - Subliminal Cuts

Easter - Subliminal Cuts

Play Video
bottom of page