Palace Theatre, Swansea

A victim of urban decay and the exuberant power of buddleia

The Grade II-listed Palace Theatre was built by architects Alfred Bucknall & Edward William Jennings in 1888.The Baroque Revival theatre, built by a tramway company and flat-iron in shape, is a charming composition, with its corner tower distinctively marking the end of the High Street, but it increasingly resembles the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

It has hosted Charlie Chaplin and was the site of Anthony Hopkins’s first stage appearance in 1960.

While much of the centre of Swansea was destroyed in the Blitz, the Palace Theatre, by then a cinema, survived. However, in the post-war period, Swansea’s centre of gravity moved south, leaving it marooned. Urgent action is needed if this building is to have a future, as it is in an appalling state.

Repairs will be expensive but Swansea can’t afford to lose a building of this quality, and one that has been at the heart of the city’s cultural life for over a century.We are delighted that efforts are being made to set up a Building Preservation Trust to save the Palace but responsibility still lies with Swansea Council to secure a solution.

Endangered Buildings Archives