Electric Cinema in Birmingham, England Re-Opens
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND — The Electric Cinema on Station Street will re-open this week.
The cinema was opened in 1909 in the centre of the city and has been showing movies almost ever since. Is the Electric the oldest working cinema in Great Britain? At the moment it seems it is by just a few months.
In the 1920’s and showing silent films the Electric changed its name to the “Select.” In the 1930’s the old Electric changed its name again and became the Tatler News Theatre. In the 1950’s another name change to the Jacey Cartoon cinema.
During the 1960â€™s the cinemas programming policy and name changed to the Jacey Film Theatre and specialised in showing “continental” (pornographic) films. In the 1970’s the old Electric became part of the Classic chain of cinemas and maintained its “continental” film programme.
In the 1980’s under a change of ownership and another change of name it became known as the Tivoli. Another change of ownership in 1993 brought about another change of name, however, this time back to the Electric and operating as an independent, second run, cinema.
The company owning the Electric went into liquidation in December 2003. The last film shown was “Kill Bill.” The property was put up for sale but, because of a Preservation Order, the Electric’s destruction was prevented. Because of the Order it couldn’t be converted into offices or apartments.
In the summer of 2004 the lease of the Electric was sold, the new owner’s intention being to use it as a recording studio. However, the new owners became so enamoured of the building it was decided the interior be restored, the old features being retained, but with the technical innovations of the 21st century installed.
The twist at the end of the tale is that UGC’s Arcadian Multiplex nearby closed in 2003. The Electric continues.