Cannon Pontefract

Pontefract, WF8 1LY

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Crescent cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Crescent Cinema occupies a commanding site on the corner of Ropergate and Front Street and was designed by local architects Garside and Pennington.

It opened on 2nd November 1926 and within the complex was the 1,190 seat cinema which had a fully equipped stage with associated dressing rooms, a cafe and a substantial dance hall.

It was taken over by the Leeds based Star Cinemas chain in 1944, (as was the Alexandra Cinema in town) and as the popularity of cinemas waned the Alexandra Cinema was the property turned over to bingo in 1961 with films continuing at the Crescent Cinema. However when the Alexandra Cinema was sold off for redevelopment in 1971 Star sub-divided the Crescent Cinema forming a bingo hall in the former stalls and a new 412 cinema in the balcony that, like many of their cinemas, was renamed Studio 1.

Further changes in ownership to the Cannon Group took place, bingo was superseded by snooker and the Cannon Cinema closed in 1993. It has not been used since although the snooker continues and a school of dance occupies the former ballroom.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 35 comments)

John Farrar
John Farrar on April 25, 2010 at 11:29 am

There are some photos of the Crescent Auditorium, The Playhouse and Thr Alexandra at Go into museum collections and scroll down to historic photographs. There was a fire in the Crescent, (not sure of the date) and the original auditorium was gutted so there are photos of the original auditorium (1926) with windows above the proscenium and some of the reconstructed art deco auditorium which lasted until conversion in 1970, the two pillars at each side of the screen were removed for the installation of cinemascope.There are also a few photos that are definitely not the Crescent but could possibly be the Alexandra auditorium. Hope this helps.

swainy on June 17, 2010 at 4:34 pm

My partner and I have recently had a look around the Crescent Cinema and we feel it has real potential for being converted into a theatre through the use of various grants. We are an amateur theatre group based in Pontefract and have ideas on how we could go about making the necessary alterations. The owner does not want to invest in the place but has no restrictions or issues on what is done to it. At this early stage, we need some free advice from an architect or retired architect who can tell us whether the changes needed are feasible (as we are no experts on architecture!). Can anyone help or point us in the right direction please?

curlyboy44 on June 19, 2010 at 11:08 am

Hello Rachey, when you say you and your partner recently had a look around the cinema, do you mean inside? I can certainly ask round to see if anyone knows of an architect who’d be willing to have a look and give advice?

swainy on June 19, 2010 at 11:24 am

Hi Carousel10, yes we actually had a look inside. One of the workmen showed us around. The owner has started to rent out the old ballrooms to a dance teacher, and she told us that the cinema was in a better state that we thought, so we telephoned the owner and had a look! If you can ask around as soon as you can as I know some grant deadlines are coming up at the end of this month. We have not yet been able to find anyone who would be willing to do this favour for us unfortunately. Thanks

curlyboy44 on June 19, 2010 at 11:55 am

Hello Rachey, I’ll get on to it today. Excellent!! Can’t believe you’ve had the chance to look inside! I spoke to the owner, (Gary?) some time back but didn’t think to ask if I could have a look!! The person I’m thinking of is a long standing friend of my parents and I think he’s retired now! Whatever I find out I’ll let you know as soon as! I’ve also emailed you on your society contact email address. May I just add at this point, it’s been a long standing wish of mine since the cinema closed in 83 that something should be done? I have made some tentative enquiries and as far as I can tell, the building has a covenant on it restricting it’s use for entertainment only! I spotted the new sign above the cinema entrance regarding the dance school so that’s great that at least some of the building will be used again. Hope this is ok as I’ll send another email to your society page with my contact details….

John Farrar
John Farrar on November 8, 2010 at 10:31 am

Has anything come to fruition about converting the Crescent for theatrical use? It seems to have gone very quiet after the initial speculation.

curlyboy44 on November 11, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Not as yet John. Can only assume it’s come to stand still!

lensi on July 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Hi Can anyone pass me the contact details of the current owner ? Many thanks

dango on October 23, 2012 at 9:51 am

did u have any luck finding the current owner lensi ?

nic1946 on August 3, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I can remember looking at this cinema with a view to renting it from Star in the mid 1980’s, the auditorium was really nice if not a bit tatty, the screen was a good size. The projection box before the building was altered must have been at the rear of the stalls so another one had be created in the roof space with the entrance to it at the rear of the seating area. It had mirrored projection system. The box to me was strange as it was the first one I had been in where the projectors were not pointing downwards and looking though the ports saw nothing!.

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