Regal Cinema

50 Low Road,
Leeds, LS10 1QR

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Regal Cinema

In the Hunslet district of Leeds, the Pavilion Picture Palace opened on Monday 6th January 1913 with “Dante’s Inferno”, starring Salvatore Papa and Arturo Pirovano, advertised as ‘Exclusive to this theatre’.

The proprietors were J. J. R. Whitelock and L. Kohn and shows were twice nightly, at 6.45pm and 9pm, with matinees at 3pm. There were 820 seats.

The proprietors were backed by a consortium of German businessmen. Unfortunately, as war became imminent, facing internment or deportation, they decided to sell up and return to Germany. Harold Pemberton, who operated the Alhambra Picture Palace (see separate Cinema Treasures entry) just across the road, took the opportunity to take over his competitor (at a cost of £8,000). He closed the Alhambra Picture Palace on 15th October 1914 and the Pavilion Picture Palace became the premier picture palace in Hunslet, screening Harold Pemberton’s own films before they were shown in the city centre (see the Alhambra Picture Palace entry for further details about Pemberton’s career in filmmaking).

The multi-talented Harold Pemberton was also a musician and, many times, before the shows, he would serenade patrons with his violin from a little balcony!

On 6th January 1930 the cinema was renamed the Regal Cinema. By 1953, according to the Kinematograph Year Book, it was owned by Goldstone (Cinemas) Ltd and seating capacity had been reduced to 616.

The Regal Cinema closed on Saturday 30th May 1959 with “In Love and War”, starring Robert Wagner.

The building was converted into a car showroom, appropriately named Regal Motors. This lasted until at least the early 1980’s, but it was then demolished and replaced by an updated motor garage on what appears to be much the same footprint. This was originally operated as Robert Bowett Motors but today (November 2020) is trading as Luscombe Mitsubishi Leeds.

Contributed by David Simpson
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