Woolton Picture House

Mason Street,
Liverpool, L25 5JH

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Philip Picturedrome
Philip Picturedrome on May 19, 2016 at 10:18 pm

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.

Davell
Davell on June 14, 2008 at 8:49 am

For many years the chief projectionist at Woolton was Dave Swindell, who is sadly no longer with us. He passed away shortly after his retirement.The cinema was run for many years by Cheshire County Cinemas before being taken over by David Woods, who was the grandson of the founder of Bedford Cinemas (1928) Ltd.They ran several cinemas including the Mayfair, Aigburth and the Abbey, Wavertree. Projection equipment at the Woolton is Westar. There are two machines with a tower system and 2000 ft spools can still be run in the old way. Light source is now xenon. Two converted Peerless carbon arcs provide this. Entrance to the box is from outside the building. I was in the box some time back and took several photos of it.

Ian
Ian on March 27, 2007 at 5:23 am

The Woolton has been sold to a consortium and it is planned to reopen the cinema soon. Good news!