226 Church Road,
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The Empire Kinema opened on 22nd December 1920 and had 1,450 seats on a single floor. Its architect was Cecil Masey and it was built for Alexander Bernstein. It closed in May 1927 for a reconstruction when a balcony was added to give a seating capacity of 1,777 (991 in the stalls and 786 in the balcony). The architect was again Cecil Masey and he employed Theodore Komisarjevsky as interior designer. It re-opened on 27th October 1927 and was equipped with a Christie 2Manual/7Rank Christie organ.
The Berstein family sold the building to Denman (London) Ltd. who were part of Gaumont British Theatres, but they retained the booking and management of the theatre as part of the newly formed Granada Theatres Ltd. It closed again for more re-modelling on 11th July 1936 when architect James Morrison did some alterations. It re-opened on 21st September 1936 as the Granada Theatre.
The Granada closed on 20th October 1962 with Richard Todd in “The Boys” and Paul Daneman in “Clue of the New Pin”. It was converted into a Granada Bingo Club and was fully acquired by the Granada company in March 1965.
Bingo use finally came to end in the early-1990’s and from 14th October 1994 it re-opened as a live theatre known as the Comedy Empire. In 1995 it began screening Asian films known as the Empire Cinema using just 800 seats. This closed in 1997 and on 13th July 1997 it was converted into a church for the Miracle Signs and Wonders Ministries.
In early 2003 it was noted that the church were making plans to demolish the building and build a church and housing on the site. In the summer of 2006 the church had moved out of the building.
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