Pavilion Cinema

90-92 Old Street,
Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 7SD

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Pavilion Cinema

The Picture Pavilion opened on 21st December 1908 and originally had a seating capacity of 1,600, many places were on long wooden benches. In later years conventional tip-up seating was installed throughout the auditorium and the seating capacity became 1,300 in stalls and balcony. It was built for and operated by William Henry Broadhead.

The Picture Pavilion has an imposing facade in brick, dressed with stone, onto which, in July 1947, was grafted a small cantilevered projection box, replacing the original projection box located inside the auditorium at the rear of the balcony.

The auditorium is a strangely wide and shallow affair with one balcony, richly embellished with plasterwork. The screen opening, at first occupied about a third of the width of the wall. The Pavilion closed on 29th April 1933 for refurbishment and alterations which included a new 35ft wide screen situated in front of the original. The auditorium was totally redecorated in an Oriental style and sound equipment was installed. It re-opened on 5th June 1933 with Marlene Dietrich in “Blond Venus”. There was a small stage, but this was never really a live theatre. Decorative plaster survives on, and at either side of the screen opening.

The Pavilion Cinema became the first in the town to be equipped with Cinemascope, opening with “The Robe” on 29th November 1954.

The independently operated Pavilion Cinema closed on 8th October 1966 with Donald Pleasance in “Cul de Sac” and Barry Sullivan in “Intimacy”. It became the Cosmo Bingo Club, which in later years was operated by Gala Bingo Clubs, until they moved into new premises circa 2000. The building was then sold and became a furniture showroom, again returning to the Pavilion name, which continues in 2008. Apart from the removal of foyer walls to open up the floor space, there has been little alteration to the cinema, which still retains its proscenium arch and balcony.

Contributed by Ian Grundy, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Ian on March 17, 2008 at 9:32 am

A few pictures of the Pavilion taken in March 2008 here:–

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HJHill on November 27, 2013 at 10:07 am

The “Picture Pavilion” is a rare listing in the Kinematograph Year Book 1931. Sound was installed but it was still a “disc” system. Perhaps the works in April/June 1933 involved installing equipment for sound-on-film. “Western Electric” is indicated in KYB 1942, 1947 and 1954.

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