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Basic Site Details

Name: Empire Palace Theatre
City or county: Edinburgh
Country: Scotland
Status: B Listed
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Alternative Names

The following alternative names are associated with this building/design:
 NameCurrent name?Notes
Item 1 of 2Festival TheatreYes 
Item 2 of 2Old Empire TheatreYes 

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Theatre  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 119, Nicolson StreetYes 


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 718901892ConstructionEmpire Palace
Item 2 of 77 November 1892 OpenedEmpire Palace
Item 3 of 71911 DamageFire on stage; rebuilt in the subsequent 3 months.
Item 4 of 719271928 Rebuilding of Matcham's theatre
Item 5 of 710 September 1928 Opened 
Item 6 of 728 July 1961 Proposedproposing conversion of theatre for more extensive use per Builder p186
Item 7 of 719911994 Backstage and foyer rebuilt.

Refurbishment included use of RIAS Energy Design Advice Scheme (EDAS) to reduce energy consumption.


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 15Frank MatchamArchitect c. 18901892Empire Palace
Item 2 of 15Robert Alexander BriggsEngineer 1892 With Frank Matcham
Item 3 of 15Stanley Wayman MilburnArchitectA19271928Rebuilding of Matcham's theatre
Item 4 of 15Thomas Ridley MilburnArchitectA19271928Rebuilding of Matcham's theatre
Item 5 of 15W & T R MilburnArchitectural practiceA19271928Rebuilding of Matcham's theatre
Item 6 of 15William MilburnArchitectA19271928Rebuilding of Matcham's theatre
Item 7 of 15William Milburn (junior)ArchitectA19271928Rebuilding of Matcham's theatre
Item 8 of 15(Professor Sir) James Duncan Dunbar-NasmithArchitectK19911994Rebuilding
Item 9 of 15Bovis LtdBuilderK1991(?)1994 
Item 10 of 15Colin RossArchitectK19911994(Chief Architect for project)
Item 11 of 15Gordon Pyper K19911994 
Item 12 of 15Jane Yellowlees K19911994 
Item 13 of 15Law & Dunbar-Nasmith PartnershipArchitectural practiceK19911994Rebuilding

at a cost of twenty million
Item 14 of 15Mark SidgwickArchitectK19911994 
Item 15 of 15Michael Hamilton K19911994 


The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
Item 1 of 2Edinburgh Festival Theatre TrustClient for 1990s works. The design team was assembled by Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise Ltd and City of Edinburgh District Council
Item 2 of 2Moss, EdwardClient for Matcham theatre


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 5Baird, George1963Edinburgh Theatres, Cinemas and Circuses  pp27-36
Item 2 of 5Earl and Sell2000Guide to British Theatres, 1750-1950 Londonpp60-61
Item 3 of 5Gifford, John, McWilliam, Colin and Walker, David M1984Edinburgh (The Buildings of Scotland) Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltdp248
Item 4 of 5Peter, Bruce1999Scotland's Splendid Theatres: Architecture and Social History from the Reformation to the Present Day Edinburgh: Polygon (an imprint of Edinburgh University Press Ltd)pp37-42
Item 5 of 5Walker, Brian Frank Matcham Theatre Architect  pp68-74

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 13Architects Journal23 June 1994  "Client's Account" by Jim MacFarlane, Director of Property and Environment, Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise

"Architect's Account" by Colin Ross, The Law & Dunbar-Naysmith Partnership,

"Appraisal" by Malcolm Fraser
Item 2 of 13Builder28 July 1961  p186
Item 3 of 13Edinburgh Evening News16 June 1994  "Tribute to New Theatre"
Item 4 of 13Edinburgh Evening News25 June 1994  Souvenir Supplement "Designed to leave patrons feeling good" by Vivienne Nicoll
Item 5 of 13Edinburgh Festival Theatre1994  p3-12
Item 6 of 13RIAS Quarterly1931Spring/SummerRoyal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)p35
Item 7 of 13RIBA JournalMay 1994 London: Royal Institute of British Architects"Window Lean" by Louise Rogers
Item 8 of 13Scot Rail Magazine2004July/August  Capital Investments, by Keith Aitken
Item 9 of 13Scotsman20 May 1994  "Architect's "magical" act" by Ronald Banel
Item 10 of 13The Guardian25 May 1994  "Point of Reference" by Deyan Sudjic
Item 11 of 13The Herald27 June 1994  "Edinburgh's Grand Old Opera House" by Michael Tumelty
Item 12 of 13The Independent11 May 1994  "At last, a home fit for a festival" by Louise Rogers
Item 13 of 13The Times20 June 1994  "The Empire Strides Back" by Adnrew Gibbon Williams

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 5Edinburgh City ArchivesEdinburgh Dean of Guild  
Item 2 of 5Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register30023 
Item 3 of 5Personal Post-War Archive (held at ECA)Miles Glendinning Edin misc articles post 1975 non hsg

EDAS Fact File, Case Study 7, Reference E358F50. EDAS is linked to the RIAS and the Department of Architecture and Building Science, University of Strathclyde.
Item 4 of 5Personal Post-War Archive (held at ECA)Miles Glendinning Edin misc articles post 1975 non hsg

"Archibabble" a collection of press and comment articles compiled by Graham Harris, dated 13/08/1994. p27-8

Citing a letter from the Cockburn Association to the Director of Planning, City of Edinburgh, 02/12/1991
Item 5 of 5Tyne & Weir ArchiveMilburn Papers DT.TRM DT.TRM/1/33-56


© All rights reserved.   

© All rights reserved.