Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Copeland (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NX 99082 20194



131/1/10002 Rosehill Theatre



Former barn and dwelling, C19, converted and extended into a concert hall and theatre in 1959 for Sir Nicholas Sekers, silk manufacturer and impressario by Gavin Paterson and Son architects, with interior design by Oliver Messel, interior decorator and theatrical designer. Snecked stone denotes C19 fabric, with additions in brick and timber frame; most areas except for former dwelling then weatherboarded. Tile roofs. Original barn now auditorium. The additions at one end formed stage and back-stage premises; at the other end additions formed office and foyer bar. A second bar at the foyer end of the original building was linked to the dwelling section in 1975 to form a restaurant, now bistro. Stairs and porch, later glazed, gave entrance to this bar. Main entrance leading into foyer was redesigned in 1996 to provide a portico with disabled access, replacing the original porte-cochere. Windows with glazing bars to foyer and with sashes to office, bar and bistro. Interior: foyer lined in green silk manufactured by Seker's firm, West Cumberland Silks Mills, with gold cornice edging. Curtains to entrance, box office and windows part of Messel scheme, the last with his radiator grilles under. Box office front with flat carved balusters identical to those used on open stair rising to circle, which are set in corner of foyer. Auditorium with 208 (originally 220) seats set in stalls and small circle; original opera box under circle converted for cinema projection. Messel's decoration inspired by fittings salvaged from Royal Standard Music Hall in Whitehaven, demolished in 1958. Proscenium arch incorporating elements of that at the Royal Standard, featuring Messel's favourite griffon motif. Side walls hung with red Sekers silk, white cornice and flat white ceiling. Walls embellished with draped 'windows' originally intended to mask stage lights, elaborate gilded candelabra and wall-lights. Flat balcony front (the curved one from the Royal Standard was destroyed whilst in store) with three painted panels from the Royal Standard (two more in store at time of inspection in 1995). Foyer area set with candelabra devised by Messel. Messel's original design sketches for foyer and auditorium are framed and on display in bistro. The interior design of Rosehill is the only permanent theatre work by Oliver Messel, whose work in theatre, opera and cinema from the 1920's to the 1960's for Diaghilev, Charles B Cochran, Glyndebourne and elsewhere established a highly regarded, much imitated and very British style of set design that dominated these years. The interior style of Rosehill is a translation of a two-dimensional set design into a permanent building which has been well preserved.

Listing NGR: NX9908220194


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

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