Rialto Cinema

Earp's Lane,
Wednesbury, WS10

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Rialto Cinema

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Originally built in 1860 as a public hall, known as The Royal, it became a Salvation Army Hall in 1883. In 1909 it was taken over by Benjamin Kennedy and became the Kings Hall screening films. Taken over by new operators after the end of World War I, it was re-built and re-opened as the Borough Theatre, with seating for 600.

In 1927, it was re-named Rialto Cinema. It was closed again on 27th June 1931, for re-building and enlargement, to the plans of architectural firm Satchwell & Roberts. It was taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain and re-opened on 14th September 1931. ABC operated the Rialto Cinema until around 1936, under their subsidiary Regent Cinemas chain.

The facade was re-built to the plans of architect Ernest S. Roberts and it was taken over by Cyril Joseph, re-opening on 15th August 1938 with Spencer Tracey in “They Gave Him a Gun”. It was closed on 30th March 1957 with Paul Newman in “Somebody Up There Likes Me”.

The building lay empty for over a year, and was then taken over by Neville Wright on a six-year lease. It re-opened on 10th November 1958 with Colin Petersen in “Smiley”. The Rialto Cinema finally closed on 8th July 1961 with James Mason in “Journey To the Centre of the Earth” and Mark Damon in “Young and Dangerous”, plus other films and a live group “The Renegades” appearing on the stage.

On 21st July 1961, it re-opened as a bingo club, part of the Miles Jervis chain. It closed in around 1970, due to re-development of the area, and was demolished in 1973.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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