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These (former front stalls?) exit doors are one of the few indicators of the building’s former use as a public hall.
The building as council offices (June 2013). It’s clear that the original hall (catholic chapel, with full height windows, was extended forward to Dalton Square when the terrace was erected. There are no indications of the former cinema use (apart from the roof vent for the former auditorium?).
The “Curtains!!!” (1983) listing mentions the arched, side elevation, windows being unblocked for the office conversion in 1980/81. This photo shows that the arched windows were only partially blocked, leaving small, oblong windows.
The following information and text is from the entry for the Hippodrome, Lancaster in “Curtains!!!” (1982):
1799 – opened as a Roman Catholic chapel.
1859 – use changed to a Temperance Hall.
1902 – converted to become the Hippodrome theatre.
1981 – converted local authority offices.
“The interior was completely reconstructed in 1931 as a cinema with one balcony and a small stage incorporated within the auditorium. Ashlar front to Dalton Square, which forms the end of a handsome terrace of houses. The side walls show the arched windows of the former chapel/temperance-hall. In 1980/81 the interior was gutted for offices, the façade restored and the arches in the side elevation unblocked and windows inserted.”
The Google map location is in Altrincham, many tens of miles away from the correct location in Bradford!
G J Mellor’s “Cinemas of Bradford” gives the seating capacity as 650, when first opened; reducing later to 476. KYB for 1942 and 1947 give 547 seats; and KYB 1954 gives 476 (the result of installing cinemascope?).
As the 1934 aerial photo shows, the location on Legrams Lane was rather isolated, with few houses in immediate proximity.
Also in the photo, it looks as though the conversion to sound involved knocking through the wall behind the screen and constructing a speaker/horn chamber on the outside (a technique used also at the Grange cinema).
G J Mellor’s “Cinemas of Bradford” gives the cinema owners as Messrs Holmes, Pickles, Whiteside and Barnett; and the ballroom owner as Herbert Shutt. ‘Bert Shutt’, employed my father on the decorating of the ballroom.
The “Ideal” is almost opposite the end of Carbottom Road. The Rooley Lane junction is a distance away.
The 1966 BBC television play “Where the buffalo roam”, written by Dennis Potter and starring a young Hywel Bennett, featured a scene at the entrance to the Castle. Bennett’s young character was admiring and fantasising about cowboy films, stills of which were on display at the cinema.
I’ve uploaded images of the KYB entries for Otley for 1931, 1942, 1947 and 1954. 1942 lists both the Beech Hill and the Westgate cinema; and gives the latter as 580 seats. In 1947 and 1954 the Beech Hill is given as 686 and 679 seats, respectively. It’s odd.
Correction: the site is not the car park. That is beyond the flag and the tree. The cinema site is mostly behind a high board fence with young trees visible. The clue in the Google Streetview is the brick pillar and iron railings. They are still there; as is one of the red brick and white faïence corners of the cinema.
The KYB 1931 simply lists the name and Western Electric (WE) sound.
Rather than start another cinema, the KYB 1931 also lists, with no other information “Kings Hall”.
The KYB 1931 has it listed as the Burras Lane Cinema. So its demise was after 1931 and before 1934. The proprietor was given as A E Shields, 29 Kirkgate, Bradford.
It is listed as The Gaumont Picture House in the Kinematograph Year Book 1947, which gives the capacity as 1454 seats.
There seems to be only the one external photo of the Elysian. This is a slightly clearer version of the main one in this article.
The Kinematograph Year Book for 1954 gives the screen as 30ft6 by 18ft3; there were 1088 seats. The late Colin Sutton’s web site reports that cinemascope was installed “circa 1954”, which would account for a screen 2ft6 wider than the original proscenium. Interestingly, the 1947 and 1954 capacities are the same; so no seats were removed due to the larger screen.
1954 prices were 1/– to 2/–. (10d to 1/6 in 1947)
In the Kinematograph Year Book for 1947, the Myrtle had 900 seats. Prices ranged from 10d to 2/6; pricier than the Hippodrome which was charging 6d to 1/6 at the time. The KYE for 1954 gives the prices as 7d to 2/7; the Hippodrome was a branch of Woolworth’s by then. In 1954 the screen at the Myrtle was 16ft6 by 12ft6.
The Hippodrome is listed in the Kinematograph Year Book for 1914. It was owned by the Bingley Hippodrome Company. In the KYB for 1947 the capacity is 769 seats; and the same company was running it.
The Google maps pin point (above, right) is completely wrong (it’s pinned on Main Street in another community). The postcode BD16 2HZ is correct. Number 55 is a guess at the Main Street number. The site is now part of a car park next to estate agents at number 53. The Hippodrome was (probably) at the north end of the car park with the Water Works premises in the photo on the rest of the car park right next to the present estate agents.
The Google map pin point is wrong. It is on Station Road, it should be on Railway Road.
Follow the right hand side of the curve of Bingley Main Street and the Hippodrome can be seen as the last building. The site of the Myrtle cinema is back down the road, behind the camera, and also on the right hand side.
According to the Kinematograph Year Book for 1954 (the year of the photo above), seat prices ranged from 1/6 to 2/6. No seating capacity was given, though the KYB for 1947 quoted 1,080 seats.
The Morley Street entrance to the Bradford Picture House (taken in 1914). This entrance served the seats priced at one shilling and at six pence. Patrons for the cheap seats at three pence (thruppence/threppence) entered via the less well appointed entrance in Great Horton Road. Ironically, the latter is now the sole entrance to the Alhambra Studio Theatre; and the above is closed off.
There was a café called the Café Rendezvous. G J Mellor, in Cinemas of Bradford, gives the opening date as 2 April 1914. Not many days earlier, 18 March 1914, the Alhambra had opened to the public. The rear of the screen of the Picture House butts against the back wall of the Alhambra’s stage. The two structures would have been in construction at the same time. Old photos of the “Morley Street Waste” with a sign up declaring it to be “The site (for the) New Alhambra Variety Theatre” show the triangular patch of land bordered by Morley Street, on the left, Great Horton Road, on the right, and the municipal Queen’s/King’s Hall/baths complex to the south.
House lights hung from four of the grilles. The first I recall were the Star Cinemas house-style of five-pointed stars in the horizontal cross-section. They were replaced around 1960 by drum fittings against the grilles, which gave a very stark light. I may be being misled, but the two small dimple shapes at the height of the ceiling curve are probably where two naked, clear light bulbs hung: the cleaning lights. Occasionally, someone would flick a wrong switch and their glare would hit the atmosphere.
Light through windows at the back shows how the seating extended to the very rear wall. There was a stepped seating area under the projection room. All those seats were doubles, very plushly upholstered. However, the occupants had the disruption of rear cross-aisle traffic interrupting the view of the screen. It occurs to me that, originally, the region under the projection room may have had a number of elevated family ‘boxes’ (the rear of the circle at the Torbay Cinema is an example); ripping those out at the 1933 refit would account from how an additional 37 seats were fitted in. It’s an idea!
The door that is partly hidden by the car opened onto steep metal stairs up to the projection suite which is located behind the three boarded windows. Notice the door doesn’t have the architectural finish of all other windows and doors in the building. The reason is very odd. That door was created in the early 1950s. Prior to that, the projection room stairs went down into the auditorium, meeting the cross-aisle that is served by the exit towards which the man is walking.
Beyond the car, the central shuttered door opened on to stairs down into a boiler/store room under the rear stalls.
The far shuttered door was a rear exit that started as a downward slope from the rear cross-aisle and ended in some very steep steps down to the pavement.
Behind that central panel, the two projectors were within a brick-built room. There was a corridor at the back with windows overlooking Ebenezer Place. The lone pair of port holes at the right were for a spotlight located in a room containing the gramophone and (I seem to recall) the rewind and film store facilities. The spotlight was replaced by lamps on the auditorium walls above where the usherettes stood, leaning back with the weight of a laden tray! In the late 1950s, whilst at junior school (Bell School on Southfield Lane) my dad arranged for me to be shown round by one of his friends who was a projectionist.