Gaumont Belfast

13-25 Castle Lane,
Belfast, BT1 1GB

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Gaumont Belfast

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The Classic Cinema opened on 24th December 1923 with “Chu-Chin-Chow”. Initially an independent, it was taken over by Provincial Cinematograph Theatres(PCT) in August 1928, and from February 1929 PCT were taken over by the Gaumont British Theatres chain.

The Classic Cinema was the ‘premier’ cinema in Belfast at that time. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer theatre organ in 1927 with organist Leslie Simpson opening the instrument. The cinema also had a cafe and dance hall attached.

It was re-named Gaumont Theatre from 3rd July 1950 and was closed by the Rank Organisation on 30th September 1961. The building was demolished and a BHS department store was built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 7, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Bertie Crewe designed at least one other theater in Balfast besides the Royal Hippdrome/New Vic, though I don’t know if the project was carried out or not, and if it was I don’t know its name. The August 8, 1915, issue of The Building News said that demolition of the Theatre Royal had begun, and that the house was to be replaced by a modern picture theatre of 1,500 seats, which had been designed by the architect of the Royal Hippodrome, Mr. Crewe.

this web page has a history of the Theatre Royal, but nothing about its fate. It says that the theater was on Arthur Square, which Bing Maps (Google doesn’t identify it, and the intersection has been closed to traffic so Google’s street view camera never captured it) informs me was a small open area just east of the intersection of Castle Lane and Arthur Street, which is a half block east of the site of the Gaumont Belfast. Unless the theater that was to have replaced the Theatre Royal was never built, there must have been another large house in the neighborhood of the Gaumont that we don’t have listed yet.

Looking at Bing Maps' bird’s eye view, there’s a modern building on the southwest corner of Castle Lane and Arthur Street which looks like its parcel is big enough to have once held a theater, though 1,500 seats would have been a tight squeeze. The only other likely site would have been the southeast corner of William Street South and Ann Street, where Bing’s view, dated this year, shows modern construction underway.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on November 8, 2012 at 12:39 am

An undated picture of the Gaumont Belfast can be seen here.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Joe; The replacement cinema on the site of the Theatre Royal was the Royal Cinema. I have now given it a page on Cinema Treasures.

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