County Cinema

Dalton Square,
Lancaster, LA1 1PW

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County Cinema

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The fine looking building that was once the County Cinema is still extant on Dalton Square and is now called Palatine Hall (office premises). It was originally built in 1799 as a Roman Catholic chapel, later becoming a concert hall/music hall known as the Hippodrome/Opera House. Films were first screened in 1910. It became the County Cinema in 1921.

It was equipped with a Jardine 2Manual orchestral organ in 1927. Alterations were carried out and a Western Electric(WE) sound system was installed with a reopening on 30th June 1930. (Kinematograph Year Book for 1931 shows bookings being made at the Tivoli Cinema in Blackpool) which was acquired by the Union Circuit in 1936 (though ownership was technically “Hippodrome (Lancaster) Ltd”).

In October 1937 it passed into the ownership of Associated British Cinemas(ABC), though with the same Union/Hippodrome structure (see KYB 1954). ABC owned the Palace Cinema, also on Dalton Square.

The County Cinema closed on 1 December 1956.

Contributed by H J Hill

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

HJHill
HJHill on May 8, 2013 at 8:06 am

The following information and text is from the entry for the Hippodrome, Lancaster in “Curtains!!!” (1982):

1799 – opened as a Roman Catholic chapel. 1859 – use changed to a Temperance Hall. 1902 – converted to become the Hippodrome theatre. 1981 – converted local authority offices.

“The interior was completely reconstructed in 1931 as a cinema with one balcony and a small stage incorporated within the auditorium. Ashlar front to Dalton Square, which forms the end of a handsome terrace of houses. The side walls show the arched windows of the former chapel/temperance-hall. In 1980/81 the interior was gutted for offices, the façade restored and the arches in the side elevation unblocked and windows inserted.”

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