Clifton Cinema

31-32 Clifton Street, Roath,
Cardiff, CF24 1LR

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Clifton Cinema, Cardiff

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Closed over 75 years ago, few recollections of this cinema are available. Remarkably the building has survived, though original features have gradually been lost during subsequent repair it is still recognisable as a former cinema, in use as a Woolworth store since 1932.

The plans and documents now available for research are revealing some of the history of this remarkable building, previously a mystery as hardly any of its programmes were advertised in the local press and it was thought, possibly incorrectly, that it was never equipped for sound.

The proximity of the huge Splott Cinema (with over 2,000 seats and modern facilities) and the fact that the city centre’s cinemas were only a short distance away, contributed to closure in 1931.

Contributed by Geoff

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

geoffjc on April 25, 2007 at 1:38 am

Press advertised 5/6 February 1932
George Arliss “Old English” plus “Lord Richard in the Pantry”

geoffjc on August 16, 2007 at 12:01 pm

Press report in 1930 stated that it was owned by the Splott Cinema Company but was not included in their block advert for the group’s five cinemas when this began shortly afterwards. Did it become surplus to requirements after the Splott had been rebuilt?
In the next ten years the group doubled in size, operating 10 Cardiff Cinemas by acquiring the Plaza, redeveloping the Tivoli and building Monico,Avenue, and County as well as carrying out extensions and upgrades of several of the others.

geoffjc on December 16, 2008 at 10:48 am

The future of this building which retains a few features from its early days as a cinema has been placed in doubt as a result of the problems of Woolworths, occupiers for more than 75 years.

edithapearce on April 18, 2009 at 5:21 am

Some of the staff working at the Splott around 1960 could remember the Clifton and that is how I first learned of its former existence. Apparently the entire frontage of the cinema was painted blue, earning it the local nickname “The Blue Palace.”

I later walked down Clifton Street and at that time the upper part of the facade, above Woolworth’s windows, was very obvious as being the remains of a cinema frontage.I’m wondering if this upper frontage is still existing in 2009.

geoffjc on June 29, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Further alterations to what remains of the Clifton are to be undertaken for the new tenants, Tesco. The freehold property has been offered for sale.

geoffjc on April 29, 2010 at 4:41 am

The upper part of the original frontage has survived. Examination of the original plans reveals that the entrance was on the corner with pillars but that the long-lost copper dome above was originally designed at roof level but was placed on a raised plinth with circular holes,( shown in old photographs from its time as Woolworths.)
As designed, the building allowed for a planned later expansion behind the adjoining shops, as at first the hall was quite narrow,but wider at the screen end.

edithapearce on June 2, 2012 at 11:41 pm

I’ve referred previously to the fact that the old local nickname for the Clifton Cinema was the ‘Blue Palace’. However, I’ve often wondered why the word ‘Palace"was used rather than the 'Blue Cinema or Blue Hall’. Last week a friend informed me that the original given name on the opening of this hall was the “Clifton Palace Cinema'.

My friend has also reported that rumours abound that there was formerly another cinema located in nearby Stacey Road.It is claimed that this hall closed soon after the opening of the Clifton.Can anyone confirm or deny this rumour?

geoffjc on June 3, 2012 at 4:11 am

Some evidence exists for the use of the Stacey Hall as a cinema, including the plan to add a projection room.It is also reported in Gary Wharton’s book, though I don’t recall seeing any press publicity, I’ll spend a wet afternoon looking at the newspaper archive. Incidentally the Clifton wasn’t shown as being painted blue on the original plans!

geoffjc on July 11, 2013 at 11:05 am

A press advert in late 1913 shows afternoon patrons were treated to a free tea!

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