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Almost completely demolished on Sunday, 24 July 2016.
The building was built for the Bootle Labour Party, who, as the sign says were established in 1882, and the building was called the Bootle Institute.
Whether that means that this building was actually built in 1882 isn’t clear, but it is shown on the 1890 OS map.
From about 1912 it was used as a cinema called the Empire Picture Palace, until 1922 when the purpose-built Gainsborough opened over the road.
The Empire then became a dance hall and was the Knowsley Labour Club until comparitively recently.
It is currently (by 2007) called Madigan’s Lighthouse.
Demolition was commenced in May 2016.
Opened early 1928, after 27 January, but before 2 March.
Plans were first received by Liverpool’s Building Surveyor’s Department for this cinema on 3 June 1926. It was to be built for W. J. L. Croft of 7 Tynwald Hill, Stoneycroft, Liverpool. It would have 800 seats, all on one level. Another sheet of the plans shows that Mr Croft’s name had been crossed out and replaced with “Woolton Picture House Co. Ltd.”.
By 8 July 1926, work hadn’t started and the Company was told: “Subject to compliance with the requirements of the City Surveyor, and with the condition that the work must be substantially in hand within six months, the bench approved plans for the erection of a Picture Hall in Mason Street, Woolton.”
The Woolton was built by George R. Wright between the official starting and finishing dates of 27 Dec 1926 and 31 March 1928. It has been difficult to ascertain the actual opening date. It could have been anytime between 28 January 1928 and 2 March 1928. The Ingress and Egress certificate was first issued on 28 January 1928. (It wouldn’t have been possible for it to open before this certificate was issued). It might have opened on 1 February 1928.
When the Ritz Cinema in Utting Avenue was at the planning stage on 2 March 1928, it was stated to the Licensing Bench of the Magistrates that the applicant, a Mr Alfred Adams, was the “big shareholder” in each of the companies formed for this and two other cinemas. The two others were “the recently opened” Woolton cinema and the West Derby cinema which had then been open for “less than a year”.
In 1987 the manager of the cinema said that it opened in November 1927, quoting the date stamped on the fireproof door of the operating room, but that was probably the date the door was made. The finishing-out details of the cinema were still underway. For example, an amended ground floor plan was submitted on 4 January 1928.
More recently (about 1998) the date has been given as 26 December 1927, but no proof has been provided to support this, apart from somebody saying that one of the residents remembered the date, which now appears on a plaque which is fixed to the outside wall.
The architect of the Ritz and the Woolton was Lionel A G Prichard. He also designed the Plaza in Crosby, and – in partnership with George Stanley Lewis – the Clubmoor. He also designed a number of Roman Catholic churches.
Original research by Philip G Mayer.
The lease will not be renewed, so the cinemas will close on 14 July 2016.
Best of Luck.
I suppose you know it’s a Listed Building?
But then, so were the Palace/ABC, and the Palladium/Odeon, but they were demolished.
Have you contacted the CTA and English Heritage, and the local press?
Architects: Chadwick & Watson, of Leeds.
Family resemblance to the Lime Street Picture House, Liverpool (1912, later Futurist).
Photo taken in 1984 by Philip G Mayer, before he learned (the hard way) to ‘watermark’ his stuff.
I wonder how many other cinemas have the same address?
Liverpool had a cinema at 166 London Road.
The facade was one of the best in Liverpool.
Here’s a photo, c1998:
The prolific A E Shennan was the architect responsible for the 1920 conversion to a cinema.
Six images and full history, here:
The Holderness Hall opened exactly two months after Liverpool’s Lime Street Picture House (later the Futurist), both being owned by the Bradford based New Century Pictures.
The Liverpool cinema was designed by the company’s resident architects, C.C. Chadwick & Wm. Watson, of Albion Street, Leeds, but I can’t confirm that they also designed the Holderness Hall.
The Palace Cinema, Runcorn was completely new in 1913.
The Ordnance Survey map, revised in 1905, shows the site to be empty.
Another source (not repeated here) claims that there was a theatre (1897) on the site. Definitely wrong! That “Urban Myth” came from “Curtains” – one of many mistakes in that publication.
There had been a Victorian theatre nearby, but that’s another story, and it wasn’t even on the same road.
I’ve only just seen this photo after Googling this cinema.
I always wondered if there was a good photo of one of the most outstanding cinema facades.
Strange that only the architect’s drawing and an out-of-focus photo are the only others showing the original facade.
Unless somebody knows different…
It was never a church, but the name of the Removal firm – “Bishop’s Move” – seems to have confused somebody.
Good close-up on postcard:
That horrible cladding was removed a few years ago.
For the record, the supermarket is on the ground floor in the area originally used as a garage.
The rinks/cinema were upstairs.
Belmont Road Picture House / Lido Cinema, Belmont Road, Liverpool 6.
Architects: Campbell & Fairhurst.
TV repairs warehouse (NEMS).
Wooky Hollow, etc.
The building has been altered & rebuilt so much it is now unrecognisable as a former cinema.
Presently selling kitchen appliances.
Demolition might have started in March 2015, but it continues in May 2015.
Both the Scala and Futurist cinemas in Lime Street, Liverpool will probably be demolished, although the “Picture House” sign (set in stone) will probably be incorporated into what replaces it.
There is a campaign to save the facade…
SouthportMike, your link shows my 1980s photo of the Regal/ABC, posted before I learned to “watermark” my photos.
Incidently, the multiplex wasn’t called NBC, but something similar – it’s now Vue.
Here is the Regal/ABC:
In its final days the Palace was indeed called ABC, as closed as such.
There is a funny photo with a banner on the front of the building, reading: “For the last frickin' time, we are not the NBC”, which was the original name of the multiplex, which killed off the Palace/ABC.
The heading is misleading, but perhaps it’s the policy of Cinema Treasures to list the final name.
It’s worth pointing out that this was A E Shennan’s only cinema outside Merseyside where he’d designed about 30.
It’s also (sign of the times!) the last of his cinemas still showing films.