71 Lime Street,
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Opened on 16th September 1912, the Lime Street Picture House was a very upmarket city centre cinema with a tiled Edwardian facade and 1,029 seats in the stalls and circle auditorium which was richly decorated with plasterwork in the French Renaissance style. Dummy boxes with a riotous pediment were either side of the screen opening and looked down into the orchestra pit. The lower walls were panelled in a dark oak wood. An unusual feature for such an early cinema was the provision of a lift for the circle patrons. There was a cafe-lounge located on the first floor. It was re-named City Picture House from 14th August 1916.
In 1920 the City Picture House was renamed the Futurist Cinema, a name the closed and derelict building still bears.
The Futurist Cinema was very popular and managed to retain its hold even after competition from the huge Paramount (Odeon) and Forum (ABC) opened which sometimes forced the Futurist into taking off-circuit films.
In May 1954 Twentieth Century Fox took over the cinema as their Cinemascope venue in the city and it was equipped with a large screen, re-opening on 20th May 1954 with Tyrone Power in “King of the Khyber Rifles”. In 1955, Twentieth Century Fox took over the adjacant Scala Cinema, and also equipped that with Cinemascope.
Later, in 1960, the Futurist Cinema was acquired by ABC and was equipped with 70mm/Todd-AO re-opening on 10th July 1960 with Gordon Macrea in “Oklahoma” which ran for 20 weeks. It became ABC’s roadhouse cinema for extended runs of features such as “Earthquake”.
Eventually, as ABC tripled their main cinema (the ex-Forum directly across the street), the Futurist Cinema was closed on 17th July 1982 with Mel Brook’s “History of the World-Part 1” and “Blazing Saddles”.
It has not been used since and the condition inside is very poor. In 2014 plans were proposed to demolish the cinema to build student housing on the site. This has stirred the local population into trying to save at least the façade of the building. In 2016, the façade was deemed to be structurally unsound, and by May 2016, the pavement in front of the building has been cordoned off, with pedestrians now having to cross over the other side of Lime Street to get by. Liverpool Council appear to be on the side of the developers, and despite two orders from the Court of Appeal to retain the façade, these are being ignored by the City Surveyor.
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