Palace Entertainment Centre
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Located in the Staffordshire potteries town of Stoke-on-Trent in the Tunstall district. Originally the road was named Station Road. The 300-seat Palace Cinema was the first purpose built cinema in the potteries, and was operated by George Barber. It was a cheaply built building that opened on 11th October 1909. It was also known as the Central Hall.
Soon after its opening, a skating rink was built next door. This was not a great success, and was sold to George Barber in January 1911. He closed the skating rink down and converted it into a cinema, giving it a raked floor in the stalls and a new facade. It opened as Barber’s Station Road Picture Palace on 11th November 1912. It was equipped with an electronically driven organ, and had a large stage. The old Central Hall building next door was closed and sold.
In 1929, the building was extended, with a new foyer added on the side, and the facade of the Palace Cinema was modernised in an Art Deco style. The seating capacity was increased to 1,200 with the addition of a circle. It screened its first ‘talkie’ “Smiling Irish Eyes” on 6th January 1930.
CinemaScope was installed and the first film to be screening in this process was Howard Keel “Rose Marie” on 29th November 1954. The Palace Cinema was closed on 5th March 1966 with Elvis Presley in “Tickle Me”.
It was converted into a Surewin Bingo Club by the Hutchinson Group of Burnley, Lancashire. In 1978 they converted the former circle into a twin screen cinema with seating provided for 102 where Kris Kistopherson in “Convoy” was screened, and 100 where John Travolta in “Grease” was screened. The bingo club continued to operate in the former stalls area, and the building was known as the Palace Entertainment Centre.
The Palace Entertainment Centre was closed by the Hutchinson Group in early-1987, but it was rescued by a management team who re-opened the complex as an independent. It closed finally on 3rd March 1989.
The building was put up ‘For Sale’ and was closed and derelict for many years. It was sold in December 1996, and there was talk of it becoming a nightclub, but this never happened. It was demolished and housing was built on the site.
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