Capitol Cinema

116-118 Queen Street,
Cardiff, CF1 4EY

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Capitol Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A great theatre which opened on 24th December 1921. Built for an independent operator, it was taken over by Paramount in 1931 (leased). The building also had a ballroom, three restaurants, a banqueting suite and a snooker room. It was taken over by Odeon Theatres in August 1941 (leased) and finally purchased by the Rank Organisation in April 1964.

The Capitol Cinema had many famous stars appear on its large stage, including Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Bill Haley & The Comets, Danny Kaye, The Bay City Rollers and on 7th November 1964, The Beatles.

Closed on 21st January 1978 with the X-rated double bill programme “Yellow Emmanuel” and “The Street Killers”. It was demolished in February 1983 and the Capitol Odeon Cinemas were built on the site.

Contributed by James Ruttley, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

geoffjc
geoffjc on February 12, 2007 at 10:41 am

Constructed by local builder E. Turner and described in their book published in 1929 where it states that the Architect Mr Wride did much of the work after the death of Mr Phillips.Some plans survive and may provide more details.

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on April 15, 2007 at 4:45 am

This was truely a fantastic theatre, i remember a huge sweeping circle and the decoration was very grand. Its a shame Cardiff didnt fight harder to hold on the Capital. It would have been a great home for Welsh National Opera in the years until the Milenium Centre appeared. Cardiff could now have had an equal to theHippodrome theatres in Bristol, Birmingham and the Mayflower in Southampton. In the 70’s i remember seeing a few movies here as well as a live show- An Evening with Bruce Forsyth. Sitting there you felt like you were at the London Palladium in its heyday. What a shame.

playingbingo
playingbingo on February 25, 2008 at 6:07 pm

I only went there once as a child and have dim memories of it. One thing though that a couple of other patrons have told me about itwas that the roof could open, and often would in the summer. I’ve heard this a couple of times and was wondering if anyone knew if it was true or not?

geoffjc
geoffjc on November 15, 2008 at 9:56 am

Local author Gary Wharton’s book “Capitol Days” published in October 2008 contains further information and anecdotal evidence based on his long standing interest in this cinema.

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on December 4, 2008 at 12:47 pm

I have just read the above book ‘Capitol Days’ (£9.99) and it is a great and easy read, full of great stories and facts about this wonderful theatre.
Cardiff made a big mistake by not investing in this building.
Bloody councils!

edithapearce
edithapearce on March 28, 2009 at 4:53 am

In the heydays of this cinema between 1955 and the late 1960’s, the manager of the cinema was Bill Hall. Probably one of the best publicists and managers the Welsh Cinema industry ever knew.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on July 19, 2009 at 5:27 am

The Capitol was a dominant mammoth building in the heart of the Cardiff shopping area. Living in the valleys we would usually go to the surrounding cinemas within this industrial area, on one occasion only did we visit the Capitol cinema in Cardiff and I was mesmerised. My Father decided that we would visit the Capitol to see THE SOUND OF MUSIC. It was without a doubt an experience, even at such a young age I was in love with the cinema, it’s buildings, its presentation and the cinema experience in general.

Later visits to the city as a teenager would always involve passing by this structure and I do recall advertising for double bills and live concerts by groups such as the Osmonds, Bay City Rollers and so on.

A huge building that surely ought to have been saved and put to use in the Principality as a showpiece live event venue.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 30, 2010 at 9:06 am

A vintage photograph of the Capitol Cinema:
View link

Michael Williams
Michael Williams on August 28, 2010 at 9:46 am

Many years ago I was a third at the Olympia in Cardiff and I was great friends with the third in the Capitol (Dennis Pratt)
(He replaced me at the Olympia when I joined the RAF) we both had usherettes as girl friends, I was with Joyce and Dennis met and Married Jean (Lovely Girls) Dennis went on to marry Jean and later became a film editor with TWW. Jean andd dennis both passed on recently But I know both of them would have had wonderful memories of this theatre! in memorium.

allanevans
allanevans on December 13, 2012 at 7:06 am

I remember this splendid theatre well.think i saw my very first film there .Do anyone else remember the very unique fragrence of the Capitol.It was what i can only describe as a rich velvety smell.

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