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A View from The Archive

Our archive is filled will postcards, photos, handwritten logs and books. The following pages have been taken from the book Memories of Burnley.

'Two major player in the retail industry, Marks and Spencer Ltd and F W Woolworth & Co. are featured in the photograph of St. James's Street which dates from 1950. The ornate street lights add a little extra style to the scene, and the much-loved Victoria Theatre can be seen further along the street. The Vic, as it was known, opened in 1886 and provided a venue for many first class acts throughout its history, including the world's first mega-star Charilie Chaplin. A one-time air raid shelter in the darkest days of the war, the building went on to be the headquarters of the Sadler's Wells company. It was a sad day for Burnley when the decision was taken to close the Theatre in 1955.'

'Located at the north west of the town centre, this view of St. James's Street dates from the 1940's. Little would the shoppers featured here realise that Burnley was to change dramatically over the next 30 years. Progress had been made in the first half of the century in terms of housing. Later years would see the emphasis changed to the retail heart of the town, and the communications and facilities which supported it. The Empire Theatre on St. James's Street is worth a mention: The Empire Theatre of Varieties was built in 1894 and rebuilt in 1911. It had a seating capacity of 2500. Television and bingo would overtake the popularity of this, and other entertainment venues, as the second half of the twentieth century progressed.'

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