Picture House

8 Greenhill Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6LF

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Picture House

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Located in the small Warwickshire town of Stratford-upon-Avon (birthplace of William Shakespeare). The Electric Picture House was built for Sydney John Dickinson and opened on 10th December 1912. Designed by architects Homor & Lewis, the facade was entirely decorated in Doulton Carraware ceramic tiles. The 700-seat cinema had a flat roof, a stage and an orchestra pit, with seating provided all on a single level.

From December 1920, the Electric Picture House was operated by Irving Bosco and Waller Jeffs was installed as manager. He later became involved with Sydney Clift who took over the running of the cinema in 1924, and improvements were immediately made when a pitched roof replaced the flat roof and a balcony was added. It became part of the Clifton Cinemas circuit.

New dressing rooms were added in 1926 after the fire which destroyed the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, and the Shakespeare Company made the Picture House their temporary home during the theatre season. Talkie equipment was installed in 1930 and the Picture House was closed at Christmas 1933 for rebuilding.

Clifton Cinemas employed architects Roland Satchwell and Ernest Roberts to design a modern Art Deco style cinema, which opened as the Picture House on 26th March 1934 with Madeleine Carroll & Conrad Veidt in “I Was A Spy”. The external walls of the original Picture House were retained and were raised 30 feet higher, with a new roof added and new steelwork erected. The original decorative front was demolished and a new modern brick facade was built, that incorporated new luxury foyer space and projection facilities.

The Picture House had 1,064 seats in stalls and circle levels, a 35 feet wide proscenium and the stage was 30 feet deep. There were ten dressing rooms. CinemaScope was fitted in 1956, and the seating capacity was reduced to 954. The Picture House was closed on 1st June 1983 with Jon Voight in “Table For Five”. It was immediately demolished and a Safeway Supermarket was built on the site. In 2009, a Chicago Rock Cafe operates from the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Mike_Blakemore
Mike_Blakemore on September 21, 2012 at 9:34 am

I have pictures of this Theatre and will load them as soon as I found where my Late mother had put them for safty….

Mike_Blakemore
Mike_Blakemore on September 21, 2012 at 9:38 am

The company owning it was “The Stratford Picture House Coompany Ltd.,” On the Break up of the Clifton Group in the early 1960’s.. The S.P.H.CO with the BT Davis Circuit formed Theatre Administration Ltd., as a Film Booking and Group buying group.

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