Astor Cinema

St James Road,
Salford, M7

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Located at the Great Cheetham Street E. end of St James Road in the Higher Broughton area of Salford. The building was originally the Pankhurst Hall, operated by the Labour Party. Alterations were made in 1911 and it was opened as the Hightown Picture Pavilion in 1911 with seating provided in stalls and circle levels. In 1916 after redecorations had been carried out it re-opened under new management on 26th June 1916 with “Fatherhood” and Lottie Pickford (Mary’s sister) in “Diamond From the Sky”. It was closed later in 1916.

Extensive rebuilding took place and it re-opened in 1918. In 1921 it was re-named Marlborouogh Cinema, becoming the New Marlborough Cinema in 1922. In 1935 it was re-named Embassy Cinema. It was damaged by German incendiary bombs in the early part of World War II, and wasn’t repaired and re-opened until 1944, when it was operated by the Marks Circuit Cinemas.

In 1955 under new owners Woodhill Enterprises Ltd. of Prestwich took over and after improvements, including the installation of CinemaScope, it was re-named Astor Cinema and re-opened 23rd December 1955 with Robert Mitchum in “Track of the Cat”. It was closed again in 1956 for structural repairs. Re-opened in 1957, it was closed in April 1959 with Cornel Wilde in “Operation Secret”.

There were plans to convert the building into a nightclub, but these were refused. It became a bingo club from August 1961. In 1978 plans were proposed to re-open as a cinema again, screening Indian Bollywood films, but the building was deemed unsafe, and was demolished in March 1979 after suffering a serious fire. Housing has been built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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