17 Market Street,
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In Downpatrick, County Down, the Grand Cinema opened on 5th December 1935 with “Roberta” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Thomas Breen was the proprietor and manager. The cinema had 560 seats.
It was forced to close in 1979/1880 due to a spate of bomb scares that kept patrons away, although it reopened on 26th December 1980 “grander than ever”, according to the ‘Mourne Observer’, as the proscenium and foyer had been completely reconstructed. Other major improvements included the installation of 250 Pullman-style seats. The re-opening film was Disney’s “The Aristocrats”, shown on the new wide screen (a rather odd choice, as this had been released ten years earlier. Unfortunately, the ‘new’ Grand Cinema only lasted until the late-1980’s. In September 2008, when I took my photographs, the building had been heavily altered for retail use.
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