St. George's Hall Cinema

High Street,
Belfast, BT1

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St. George's Hall Cinema

Still standing on High Street, opposite Bridge Street, St. George’s Hall has the honour of being the city’s first cinema which had previously not had theatre events. It was located on the upper floor of the building, built in 1881. (It is also one of the few surviving Victorian buildings in the High Street.) It opened, “for animated pictures and high class variety entertainment”, on 17th August 1908 with “Bluebeard”. However, better equipped cinemas soon opened, and film shows ended in 1914.

The hall was used for many years as the Ulster Sports Club and many boxing bouts were staged there. The hall was used for a variety of public functions, but has stood vacant for several years.

Contributed by David Simpson

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Torchlight
Torchlight on November 7, 2018 at 2:20 am

The records show that Belfast’s first full time cinema was the Alhambra Theatre of Varieties in North Street (June 1908). However, St. George’s Hall can stake a claim to it being the city’s first full time cinema without a theatrical background. While films predominated, live acts continued to have a place on the St. George’s bill. As to the date of its closure as a cinema, it’s arguable that this was as early as 1914, according to Belfast cinema author Tom Hughes.

The hall itself, which is on an upper floor of St.George’s Buildings (erected 1881) has remained unused for a number of years.

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