13 Crosby Road North,
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A survivor in the Liverpool suburb of Waterloo, south of Crosby, the Plaza Cinema opened on 2nd September 1939 with Edna Best in “South Riding”. Due to World War II breaking out on that day, the Plaza Cinema holds the distinction of being the only cinema to open and close on the same day. (Public buildings including cinemas and theatres were ordered to close by the governement, but this order was rescinded after a couple of weeks).
It was designed by architect Lionel A.G. Prichard and built by Ernest Spencer & Company of Aintree for the independent operator Crosby Entertainments Ltd. It was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/5Rank + melotone unit theatre organ with a fixed illuminated console, which was opened by organist George Dawson.
The Plaza Cinema has been through several ownerships over the years. In 1943 it became part of Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres Ltd. chain and was re-named Odeon. Classic Cinemas Ltd. took over in 1967 and it became the Classic Cinema and they were taken over by the Cannon Group in April 1986.
It was converted into a three screen cinema in August 1976: (1: 650 seats, 2 & 3: 103 seats each). Screen 1 is most impressive retaining the feel of the original cinema using the circle and front stalls area. The Screen’s 2 & 3 additions are tucked away out of sight under the balcony. The Plaza Cinema is now operated by a charity and is supported by teams of unpaid volunteers who help to keep it operating as a true ‘community’ cinema.
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