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Originally built as the Agricultural Hall in 1868, it was given a new facade and opened as St. George’s Hall in 1887. It became the Imperial Hall in 1899 and was screening films in August 1908. The Imperial Picture House opened on 1st January 1910 after being granted a full Cinematograph Licence. On the 6th June 1914, the Imperial Picture House was closed to enable the façade of the building and the auditorium interior to be rebuilt to a new design the plans of architectural firm Hickton & Farmer. A balcony was added and the seating capacity increased to 1,600. There was also a tea-room for the convenience of its patrons. It re-opened on 12th October 1912 with “Trilby”.
In October 1930, the Imperial Picture House was equipped with a Western Electric(WE) sound system. The cinema was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in 1936. Apart from the installation of sound and later CinemaScope, the building remained unaltered. The Imperial Cinema closed on 4th May 1968 with a double-bill programme; Stephen Boyd in “Assignment K” and Lee Marvin in “Cat Ballou”.
It was converted into an Alpha Bingo Club which was sold to the Star Cinemas chain and was re-named Star Bingo Club on 23rd May 1969. The bingo club closed in around 1996, by then operated by Gala Bingo. It re-opened in March 1997 as ‘The Imperial’, one of the J. D. Wetherspoon chain of pubs.
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