52 Anlaby Road,
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A wonderfully ornate Edwardian cinema surviving – but only just – into the 21st Century.
Opened on June 1, 1914, was designed by H. Percival Binks and seated 1,200 in the stalls and single balcony. This was later reduced to 750 by virtue of more space and individual seats replacing the wooden benches.
The facade is faced with faience tiles and contains an abundance of moulded swags and cartouches. At either end, are large windows above exit doors and topped by onion domes decorated with green and cream mosaics with bands of gold faced glass. These domes later became in a very poor condition. In the centre above a large demi lune window, behind a small colonade lighting the balcony foyer and cafe. Above this is parapet with a bare breasted female figure perched on top looking down into Anlaby Road.
The interior was equally lavish and survived well – the proscenium was altered on a couple of occasions – lastly for cinemascope which was apparently ultra successful at the Tower – it was used by manuafacturers of the equipment to demonstrate cinemascope to prospective clients.
At first there was an ‘excellent’ orchestra who played in a box at the side of the screen. Sound equipment was introduced in 1929.
In September 1978 the Tower Cinema closed as a full time cinema and was restored to near pristine condition as a music and boxing venue – although films were also occasionally presented by the Hull Film Society. This was short lived however and in 1983 it became a nightclub and fun pub – both of which uses took their toll of the interior.
After being closed for a number of years, the Tower was refurbished in 2003 and became another nightclub in the town. The two domes on top of the facade had been removed illegally, and an order was sent out for them to be replaced. This nightclub had closed by 2008, but in September 2008 new operators had taken over and reopening the Tower Cinema as another nightclub.
On 3rd October 2010, the two domes were replaced by the Hull based Toffollo Company of mosaic specialists, who were contracted by Hull City Council to manufacture new ones.
The Tower Cinema in a Grade II Listed building.
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