Queen's Picture House

180 Bradshawgate,
Bolton, BL2 1BG

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Queen's Picture House

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Queen’s Picture Hall was opened on the corner of Bradshawgate and Trinity Street in 1912. It was the first purpose-built cinema to open in Bolton. The Kinematograph Year Book for 1928 refers to this cinema, on the south side of Bolton town centre, as Queen’s Picture Hall: proprietors Bolton Picture Hall Co. Ltd. ‘Res Man’ G.C. Coop.

In KYB 1931 the name has changed, subtly, to Queen’s Picture House; it has Western Electric sound and is owned by Rialto (Bolton) Ltd. of St George’s Road {i.e. the Rialto Picture Palace on the north side of the town centre}. KYB mentions a “cafĂ© attached”.

In KYB 1935 the owners, still Rialto (Bolton) Ltd., have moved offices to the Queen’s Picture House. The company address is given as Trinity Street. Seating is listed as 1,480.

By KYB 1954, seating had fallen to 1,300, presumably due to a CinemaScope installation. The Queen’s Picture House was closed in 1966 with “Doctor in Clover”. The building lay unused for three years.

It became the Queen’s Bingo & Social Club on Friday 1st August 1969, but this was not successful and it closed in January 1970. Taken over by new operators, it re-opened as the Queen’s Picture House again on 2nd February 1970, but soon went over to screening Asian (Bollywood) films. It was finally closed in 1980.

Leslie Halliwell in ‘Seats In All Parts’ records finding on an early-1980’s visit to Bolton that the Queen’s Picture House had been demolished. He regarded the Queen’s Picture House as the seminal influence forming his film/movie-related career with Granada TV and then ITV. He describes his first ever cinema visit was to the Queen’s Picture House in 1933: “The fivepenny entrance was at the screen end”, the “heady scent . . of soft plush and worn carpet and Devon violets and sweat”, and “the metallic whirring of . . projectors” which could be heard in Trinity Street through doors left ajar by staff.

Contributed by H J Hill
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