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Originally the site of St. George’s Hall (1887), it was re-built as the New Theatre and Opera House in 1902 with the entrance on George Street. It went over to films in 1930 and was closed and demolished in 1934, to enable the construction of the new Ritz Cinema.
Designed by noted cinema architect John Fairbrother of Glasgow and local architect Thomas Jenkins, the Ritz Cinema was given a new entrance on Guild Street, whilst the original facade of the Opera House on George Street was retained at the rear of the building. Planned by the independent Burton Picturedrome Co., the Ritz opened on 11th March 1935 with Richard Tauber in "Blossom Time".
It was taken over by Provincial Cinematograph Theatres (PCT) on 5th September 1955 and re-named Gaumont from 25th February 1957. The Rank Organisation re-named it Odeon from 14th November 1966 and they sub-divided the cinema into a triple screen operation from April 1974 with 502 seats in the former circle and two mini-cinemas seating 110 each in the former rear stalls.
In 1996 it was leased to the independent Robins Cinemas chain and they re-named it Robins Cinema. It closed on 2nd December 1999 when the new Cineworld multiplex opened across the road on the former Middle Brewery site.
The building has stood empty and unused since closure. In December 2007 it was given a Grade II Listed building status by English Heritage.
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