Electric Cinema in Birmingham, England Re-Opens

posted by brighton84 on December 6, 2004 at 3:43 am

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 1960’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.

Comments (7)

boogascool
boogascool on December 6, 2004 at 11:53 am

great news – i rememeber talking to a lad in the box office about 2 years ago about the cienam theatre association when it was being threatened at the time with closure – i didnt have the time on the day to go in to watch a movie but really wanted to – i will make a journey into the city centre next week and have a look at the place – great news indeed for all old working cinemas – birmingham people support this treasure – – booga

JdEspiney
JdEspiney on July 30, 2005 at 4:30 am

The Tatler, I worked at that cinema 1940-1941 as an operator having previously worked at the News Theare High Street, both of these cinemas being owned by Joe Cohen of Jacey Cinemas.
At this time it showed cartoons, newsreels and interest films all with the credits cut out to bring the programme down to 70 minutes and if there was a queue one of the shorts was also taken out.
The staff during my time there were manager La Campe, Billy Watts (star screen reporter and later manager of Percival Mackies Band. A dogs- body Schuman. Lesley Tonks was “General Manager” I have many memories of my time there. I remember a Czeckoslovakian refugee starting there, he was the poster writer named Andre Druker, he went on to open all of the coffee shops in Brum. I still remember all of the staff who worked there until I went into the army in December 1941.The whole sale newsagents WH Smiths were next door and on the other side Wheatlys the undertakers and on fire watching during air raids we shared the Tatler roof top./
If anyone wants to know anything about that cinema and quite a few more please get in touch.

JdEspiney
JdEspiney on July 30, 2005 at 4:34 am

The Tatler, I worked at that cinema 1940-1941 as an operator having previously worked at the News Theare High Street, both of these cinemas being owned by Joe Cohen of Jacey Cinemas.
At this time it showed cartoons, newsreels and interest films all with the credits cut out to bring the programme down to 70 minutes and if there was a queue one of the shorts was also taken out.
The staff during my time there were manager La Campe, Billy Watts (star screen reporter and later manager of Percival Mackies Band. A dogs- body Schuman. Lesley Tonks was “General Manager” I have many memories of my time there. I remember a Czeckoslovakian refugee starting there, he was the poster writer named Andre Druker, he went on to open all of the coffee shops in Brum. I still remember all of the staff who worked there until I went into the army in December 1941.The whole sale newsagents WH Smiths were next door and on the other side Wheatlys the undertakers and on fire watching during air raids we shared the Tatler roof top./
If anyone wants to know anything about that cinema and quite a few more please get in touch.

Editor
Editor on October 30, 2005 at 10:43 am

I am keen to contact JdEsoine and anyone else who may be able to tell me anything about the local newsreels shot and shown at the Tatler Station Street in 1937/8

debz74uk
debz74uk on April 5, 2006 at 12:27 am

I am looking for information on names and areas of cinemas situated in the birmingahm area in the 1950’s. I am also looking for information on a Family member who worked as a cinema usherette around 1955 anyone who worked in the cinema’s at the time i would be grateful for any info provided.

debz74uk
debz74uk on April 5, 2006 at 12:29 am

I am looking for information on names and areas of cinemas situated in the birmingahm area in the 1950’s. I am also looking for information on a Family member who worked as a cinema usherette around 1955 anyone who worked in the cinema’s at the time i would be grateful for any info provided.
.uk

fionamcl
fionamcl on July 18, 2006 at 2:34 am

Would like to get in touch with Bob Geoghegan who I’ve seen referenced in Pordenone festival catalogues. I am a professional film researcher based in Paris. Perhaps you’ll see this message – my email is Thanks.

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