Plaza Cinema

13 Crosby Road North, Waterloo,
Liverpool, L22 0LD

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Plaza - Crosby

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 (Public buildings including cinemas and theatres were ordered to close by the governement, but this order was rescinded after a couple of weeks).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 opering as a true ‘community’ cinema.

Contributed by Ian Grundy, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 2, 2008 at 7:53 pm

This from their website:
The Plaza Cinema is delighted to announce that it has secured funding of £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund People’s Millions. The money will be spent on a complete facelift for the building.

Thanks for your support! We won the grant in a head-to-head vote announced on Granada Television. We are grateful for the many telephone calls from our supporters, which won us the vote.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 2, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Here’s some history from theater website:
There has been a cinema on Crosby Road North in Waterloo since 1939. For over 60 years the local community has laughed and cried its way through the Hollywood classics and the best of British and World Cinema. During this time, the building has been a major source of contact with the outside world and within the community. People’s perceptions have been changed, their lives enriched.

And then, in November 1996, the owners decided to close the doors for good and sell the site for redevelopment into yet another new office block.

The community was horrified – petitions were signed, campaigns were instigated and the Plaza Community Cinema Trust was established. A lease was agreed and finally in July 1997 with no financial capital to speak of, but with a wealth of volunteer support, the cinema was reopened (this is a story in itself!), to show Jurassic Park to packed houses.

And so it went on. By Christmas ‘97 all three screens were up and running showing a huge range of films. Then came a whole multitude of film-related activities: – the Arts Screen; the (now over 300-strong) Kids Club; the afternoon social club; several festivals and lots of events: – an Advocacy film week; regular short film nights; a talk by a Holocaust survivor before a showing of Schindler’s List; presentations by directors such as Stephen Frears, Michael Winterbottom and Julian Temple. And the ideas just keep on coming! In January 2000, having raised £325,000 in just four months, the Trust bought the building. And with virtually all the work done by unpaid volunteers and for 364 days per year. Even though we now have a core of paid staff, the Plaza still could not operate without volunteers.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 2, 2008 at 8:30 pm

other than on the theater website, maybe you can find a photo & link it?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 7, 2010 at 6:26 pm

A set of vintage photographs of the Plaza Cinema, Waterloo:
View link

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