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Empire Palace


The Empire Palace in Belper opened in August 1911, in what had been Nottingham Manufacturing Company's 'Castle Blouse' factory. The situation was described as being 'adjacent to the Meadows', but the paper contained no description of the interior. The theatre ran once nightly cine-variety. In 1913 this increased to twice nightly on a Saturday. The date of closure is not known but adverts can be found in local papers up to 1916. The building later became a factory for Thorntons, the chocolate manufacturer, who came to Belper in 1947. By August 2009 the buildings were still extant, but apparently no longer in use. It is not clear which part of the facade to Derwent Street formed the entrance to the Empire Palace, or if any signs of the theatre remain within. The factories opposite form part of the 'Derwent Valley Mills' World Heritage Site.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
Current state
Current use
Disused (closed as Thorntons factory unknown date)
Derwent Street, Belper, Derbyshire, DE56 1UQ, England
Further details
Other names
  • Design/Construction: date unknown, as Castle Blouse factory (Nottingham Manufacturing Company).
  • 1911 Owner/Management: Electric Palace Co, proprietors
  • 1911 Design/Construction: Factory converted to/used as cine-variety.
  • 1913 Owner/Management: Dakin & Son & Co, lessees; E Dakin, manager
  • 1947 Owner/Management: Thorntons, factory owner (date tbc)
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: -
Proscenium width: -
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -