10 Penrhyn Avenue,
Rhos on Sea, LL28 4RD

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In 1912, Picture Playhouse (Rhos) Ltd. was formed with directors R.D. Hartley, A.O> Cummings and H.B. Hill and they engaged architect Sidney Colwyn Foulkes to design a cinema to be built in Rhos On Sea, near Colwyn Bay, which at the time had no cinema. The result was a long, narrow building with seating for 450 patrons with, unusually, a musicians gallery in front of the projection box. The interior and foyer were panelled in wood and it had a nice terracotta front with some ornamentation.

The Picture Playhouse opened in April 1914. Programmes were once nightly with a matinee on Saturdays and two changes of programme per week.

In 1922 Sidney Frere became owner and installed his brother L. S. Frere as manager with prices 8d to 2/–. British Talking Pictures(BTP) sound was installed in 1930, the name changed to the Playhouse and programmes expanded with an additional matinee on Wednesdays. In 1938 Mr. E. Port became owner and prices changed to 6d to 2/–.

Sometime in the early-1940’s G.H. Lee and J.F. Buckingham acquired ownership, and in the mid-1950’s installed CinemaScope on a 24 ½ foot screen in the 27 feet wide proscenium. Seating reduced to 375 patrons to allow for the new lines of sight and prices rose to 1/– to 2/3d.

Sometime in the 1960’s G.H. Lee brought out his partner and became sole owner, only to retire in 1974 when the cinema closed. The Co-operative Society purchased the venue, levelled the floor, demolished the stage but retained much of the terracotta frontage and opened the venue as a supermarket, in which guise it remains.

Contributed by Alun Turner
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