Cannon Bradford

Leeds Road,
Bradford, BD1

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Ritz Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built for, and operated by Associated British Cinemas(ABC). The Ritz Cinema opened on 8th May 1939 with Robert Donat in "The Citadel". Leading organist Joseph Seal opened the Compton 3Manual/6Ranks organ.

The Ritz Cinema was another of the numerous ABC circuit cinemas to be designed by their in-house architect W.R. Glen. It had a rather plain, but modern facade over the entrance on Leeds Road, with another entrance around the corner on Broadway. Inside the auditorium seating was provided in stalls and circle levels, surrounded by Art Deco style splendour.

In around 1968, it was re-named ABC, and continued as a single screen cinema until it was closed on 3rd August 1974 with “Remember Me This Way”. It was converted into a triple screen cinema, with a Painted Wagon pub located in the former rear stalls (using the Leeds Road entrance). The three screens, one seating 732 in the former cicle opened on 6th October 1974 with “Stardust”, and the two screens in the former front stalls seating 174 and 163, opened on 18th November 1974 with “Spys” and “The Sting”.

In 1985, it was taken over by the Cannon Group and was re-named Cannon. It was closed on 17th September 1987. The building was demolished in 1989 and an office building erected on the site. This has now been demolished by 2009, and the site will become part of the Westfield Shopping Centre.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

abcman
abcman on August 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Used to do Managerial relief at the ABC Bradford when it was a single unit and after it was tripled. when I was Assistant Manager at the ABC Huddersield, also a former Ritz Cinema.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 26, 2010 at 8:15 pm

A vintage photograph of the Ritz Cinema auditorium, soon after opening in 1939:
View link

HJHill
HJHill on May 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

This cinema was on a triangular site, with shops at the apex and along the flanks of the auditorium. It was tardis-like to me: so vast inside; yet without overwhelming bulk when seen outside (unlike the Odeon and Gaumont across the town centre). The internal height came from the stalls area being entirely below ground level. The organ (in the photo above) was damaged and removed when the centre of Bradford flooded in 1947. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradford_timeline/6516698169/

With the introduction of cinemascope, as in many cinemas, the screen was brought as far forward as possible (for side stalls sight lines) and the impressive display of suspended fabric went. The light coloured tabs would open at a tremendous lick (in my memory, always with the Pathe News cockerel and music) and billow out voluminously before falling back beyond the proscenium sides.

HJHill
HJHill on June 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm

There is an uncommon angle on the Hall Ings side of the early Ritz.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradford_timeline/5370526146/

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