West End Cinema

Suffolk Street,
Birmingham, B5 4EW

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West End Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Curzon Hall opened in 1864 as an exhibition hall. In 1899 Waller Jeffs began screening his ‘Living Picture Shows’ in the building which at that time had a seating capacity of 3,000. It was later re-named New Century Picture Theatre as a full time cinema. It was closed during World War I and was used as a recruiting office for troops.

In 1925 it was extensivly altered by architect Frederick J. Pepper and re-opened as the West End Cinema and Dance Hall on 9th March 1925. The opening programme was "Zeebrugge" and Jack Holt in "Wanderer of the Wasteland".

From 1st May 1926 it was taken over by Provincial Cinematograph Theatres(PCT) and a Wurlitzer 2Manual/8Ranks theatre organ was installed, opened by organist Charles Willis. In later years the popular organist Reginald Dixon was resident here. From February 1929 PCT were taken over by Gaumont British Theatre Corp. and they operated the West End Cinema for the remainder of its life, via the GB take-over by the Rank Organisation.

Apart from the West End Dance Hall the building also contained a restaurant for the patrons to enjoy. The West End Cinema was always a popular city centre cinema and during the mid-1960’s it played several 70mm ‘Roadshow’ presentations, including “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines”.

The West End Cinema was closed on 27th March 1965 and the organ was removed. However, the cinema got a reprieve and the Rank Organisation re-opened it a few weeks later. The building had been sold for re-development and it finally closed on 18th March 1967 with Yul Brynner in "Return of the Seven" and Hugh O'Brien in "Ambush Bay". After demolition new studios and offices for Alpha TeleVision (ATV Centre) were built on the site in 1969.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

twidlake
twidlake on January 21, 2008 at 11:59 am

An interesting bit of inf I came across…before the West End Cinema closed, the screening of CLEOPATRA was cut by about 45 minutes because the length of the film would not have allowed people to see it all without missing the last bus! Does anyone else remember this? Does anyone remember how long SOUTH PACIFIC ran there?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 26, 2010 at 3:18 am

A vintage photograph of the West End Cinema, and its Wurlitzer organ:
http://www.ukwurlitzer.co.cc/1358.html

Robbie25646
Robbie25646 on September 9, 2012 at 2:29 am

I think South Pacific ran for well over 3 years I saw it there in 1958.

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