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The Panopticon opened on 22 February 1912. It was owned by Fred Stewart, a well known pioneer of early cinemas in Belfast. In 1917 it was listed in a Belfast Directory as a cinema and waxworks, no doubt indicating multiple usage, similar to the famous Panopticon in Glasgow. At that time the seating capacity was only 350 but in 1924, after extensive refurbishment and a change of name to Lyric Cinema, that was increased to 750.
The Lyric Cinema was destroyed by German bombs in the Blitz in May 1941. The site is occupied by retail stores.
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