Planning permission was submitted in early April for the creative re-use of the Park Palace of Varieties, a former theatre and cinema building, as an inner city pop-up starter riding school in the Dingle area of Liverpool 8. As well as architectural services, Harrison Stringfellow Architects have developed the brand identity and community consultation strategy for the Park Palace Ponies social enterprise.
Built in 1893 as a purpose-built music hall by J. H. Havelock-Sutton, the Park Palace of Varieties is a well known and loved local landmark. The building has gone a variety of uses since its entertainment beginnings ranging from a pharmacy, engineering works to a furniture store for a young person’s charity. After a brief return to a theatre use for the 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations, the Client has now sought an alternative use that seeks to enable activities that both animate local communities and offers sustainable education and employment opportunities. Park Palace Ponies has subsequently been borne out of a passion for equestrian pursuits and a commitment to improving accessibility to the sport of riding for children living in Liverpool.