|Design and construction|
|Structural engineer||Moss Empires Ltd|
The Liverpool Olympia was built in 1905 For Moss Empires Ltd by architect Frank Matcham as a purpose built indoor circus and variety theatre. The theatre was a response to the enormous success of Thomas Barrasford's Royal Hippodrome Theatre (4,000 capacity, built 1902, demolished 1984) which stood a very short distance away; the Olympia never managed to meet the success of the Hippodrome, and never managed a profit.
It is one of very few (if not the only one) if its kind left in the country. The animals would appear in the auditorium by being lifted from the basement where they lived. Evidence of the lift mechanism and living areas for elephants and lions can still be found under the theatre. The roof space still holds pulley, and wheel mechanisms used my trapeze artists (including the famous Henderson family). The ornate interior still reflects the buildings past with elephants, lions and set into Indian Panelling.
The auditorium is one of the largest in Liverpool; in its heyday it could accommodate 3,750 people in the stalls and on 3 balconies. The unusual proscenium stage was at the same level as the stalls, with an orchestra riser against the back wall. The stage had a 15-metre (49 ft) wide Proscenium, was 12 metres (39 ft) deep, and had a height of 21 metres (69 ft).
The theatre was purchased by ABC theatre company, and converted into a Cinema in 1930. and was used up to the Second World War in 1939. Throughout the war, the Olympia was used as a Royal Naval Depot.
After the war, the Olympia did not re-open and was sold to Mecca Leisure Group in 1948. The Olympia was converted to a Ballroom, and was renamed the Locarno. The Locarno was then converted into a bingo hall between 1964 and 1982 before being closed and re-opening between 1987 and 1990.
The Olympia reopened in the 1990s, and after substantial renovations is currently used as a venue for all kinds of events including boxing, dance showcases, music concerts and more recently wrestling events (including Ring of Honor's 2006 & 2007 shows in the UK, TNA's 2008 UK tour and also 1PW's The New Divide show). The Olympia is owned by the same company as The Grafton Ballrooms next door.
A wrestling arena in the TNA iMPACT! Video Game is based on the Olympia.