15 Castle Hill,
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Built on the site of an earlier Plaza Cinema, which had originally opened as the Gem Cinema in December 1910, becoming the Colosseum Picture Palace and John Bull Cinema. This was demolished for the new Plaza Cinema to be built for Independent operator Benjamin Kennedy who also owned and operated the adjacent Hippodrome Theatre (in recent years this operated a bingo club, but is threatened with demolition in 2012).
The Plaza Cinema was designed by noted cinema architect Archibald Hurley Robinson but in my opinion it was not a particulary beautiful building on the outside. It had a plain, rather unfinished look. Inside the auditorium, seating was arranged in stalls and balcony levels. Again like the exterior, the interior decoration was rather plain. The Plaza Cinema opened on 28th May 1936 with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in “Top Hat”.
It was taken over by a local Independent chain of Miles Jervis in 1954 and they installed CinemaScope opening with “The Robe” on 14th June 1954. From 19th August 1955 it was taken over by the Gaumont/Circuits Management Association section of the Rank Organisation.
It was twinned in 1973 and re-opened on 29th April 1973 with Glenda Jackson in “Triple Echo” showing in the former stalls area which now seated 551 and Simon Ward in “Young Winston” in the former balcony area which now seated 199.
The Plaza Cinema closed on 27th October 1990. It became a laser games centre for a while and was demolished in 1997. A small nightclub named ‘Krushh’ (currently J.B’s Club) was built on part of the site, the rest of the land is used as car parking space.
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