Picture Palace

New Street,
South Normanton, DE55 2BS

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Picture Palace

In the small town of South Normanton, Derbyshire, the Picture Palace opened on Monday 25th September 1911. Despite the building’s resemblance to a chapel, this was a purpose-built cinema. It was owned by Messrs Woodward & Powell, and managed by Mr R. Powell. In the early days there was only one projector, and variety artistes appeared between film shows.

By 1914 the proprietors were Pinxton Palace Company. In 1921 the cinema was taken over by Midland Empire Theatres.

The Picture Palace’s main claim to fame was the employment of local pianist Al Bollington, who later found fame as a theatre organist.

A Harlie sound system was installed in 1931. From the late-1930’s until closure as a cinema in the mid-1950’s the Picture Palace was run by Ollerton Pictures.

After closure the building had a variety of uses, including bingo from 1974. In the early-1990’s it was taken over by a community arts group, 28 Arts Project, with the stage being brought back into use. A new ceiling and floor were installed, although the small balcony was lost and the proscenium arch was hidden away.

In July 2000, when I visited, the building appeared to be in the hands of Junction Arts. However, in February 2011 an application was submitted to demolish it and replace it with a terrace of three houses. It is not known whether this has gone ahead.

Contributed by David Simpson
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