Palace on endangered list
SWANSEA'S Palace Theatre has been included on a list of the 10 most endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales.
It was drawn up by the charity the Victorian Society, which aims to preserve historical period buildings, and is compiled from nominations from the public, following a nationwide appeal to find the country's best and most threatened buildings.
And it has called on Swansea Council to step in to support the campaign to preserve the building.
Chris Costelloe, director of the Victorian Society, said: "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."
For buildings to be eligible for inclusion on the list, it has to be at risk, from either demolition, neglect, insensitive development or, as in the case of the Palace Theatre, decay and inaction.
Performers who have graced the stage at the Grade II-listed Palace Theatre on Swansea's High Street have included Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and Morcombe and Wise, as well as Sir Anthony Hopkins, who made his first ever professional performance at the venue.
Latterly it has been used as bingo and night clubs, but has been empty since 2006, and become increasingly run down ever since, becoming overgrown with buddleia, and fenced off from the highway for safety reasons.
Architects Alfred Bucknall & Edward William Jennings built the in 1888. Swansea Council has powers to make a compulsory purchase on the building, but does not have the money which would be needed for its restoration. A spokesman for Swansea Council said: "We do not own the Palace Theatre but we are in regular contact with the building's owners. Finding a sustainable use for the building is critical to secure its future and discussions are ongoing, which includes some feasibility assessments to explore potentially viable options.
"We're doing what we can to bring 'at risk' listed buildings across the city back into use."