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Dream is over for Theatre Royal as demolition begins

Demolition work underway at the Theatre Royal
Demolition work underway at the Theatre Royal

It was the moment that finally sounded the death knell of a dream.

Demolition work began at the Theatre Royal in Chatham on Saturday .

Charlie Chaplin and Max Miller were among the stars who performed at the historic venue.

A campaign to save the building ended in 2004 in failure but the arrival of the bulldozers while awaited still left supporters in shock.

Manor Road in Chatham was sealed off on Saturday and will stay closed for several weeks.

It follows an assessment by consulting engineers Wentworth House Partnership that was ordered by the owners of the site, Chatham Housing.

Work on the so called partial demolition will take about five weeks to complete. It appears the stage on which so many stars perfomed has gone.

The stalls and balconies now look out on a scene of urban devastation.

Medway council confirmed the building - once the focus of a preservation campaign - is dangerous and said it should be made safe urgently.

Pedestrian access will be limited.

Although it is adjacent to a temporary bus route being built to enable the Sir John Hawkins flyover to be demolished, that work will continue.

Listed building consent for partial demolition of the theatre was given two years ago.

• Do you have any memories or pictures of the Theatre Royal over the years. Email them to medwaymessenger@thekmgroup.co.uk or leave your comment below.

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