Davenport Cinema

Buxton Road,
Stockport, SK2 7AF

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Apollo Cinemas

Architects: Charles Hartley

Styles: Art Deco, Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Davenport Theatre

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Davenport Cinema

Opened on 17 June 1937 with Edward Everett Horton in “The Man in the Mirror”. It was designed by Charles Hartley, and this was a dual purpose cinema and live theatre with a seating capacity of 1,750.

There was a spacious vestibule with a wide staircase rising to the balcony foyer with entry to the balcony on the rear side and entry to the café at the front.

Inside the auditorium there was a Compton 3Manual/6Ranks theatre organ on a rising platform to the left of the stage which was opened by organist Harold Bettes. Above the 50ft wide proscenium arch there was a large area treated with silver paint which changed colour courtesy of the Holophane Lighting control. There was a fully equipped large stage and orchestra pit.

It was owned and run by Mrs. Esther Harriet Burns who in 1964, at age 89, sold the Davenport to Tatton Cinemas (Gatley) Ltd. who continued to run it with a mix of film and stage use.

Mrs. Burns continued to have an interest in the cinema until her death just short of 100 years old!

In 1972, the former café was converted into a luxury cinema seating 180.

During the early 1990’s, the entire Tatton circuit was sold to Apollo Theatres who maintained the policy of the Davenport until 1997 when it was sold to the neighbouring Stockport Grammar School. The Davenport Cinema was closed in March 1997 and demolished in August 1997 to provide a car park!

The Davenport Cinema was a location for the 1979 John Schlesinger film “Yanks” starring Richard Gere, when it can be seen in a scene featuring Ronald Curtis playing the Compton theatre organ in an audience sing-a-long.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

woody on February 6, 2004 at 7:28 am

It was such a shame that this place was demolished, the main screen was wonderful, very similar to the Ardwick Apollo down the road, im sure it had an organ when i saw pretty woman there in 1990
screen 2 was a very groovy 70’s affair with an orange colour scheme and funky bucket style velour chairs
during the demolition you could look up through the front windows and see a lot of uncovered 30’s stencil work on the lobby walls
it was demolished after failing a wiring test and was aparently to costly to repair, the land is now an enlarged enterance for the school next door

LarryJW on November 8, 2004 at 2:03 pm

I went to the school next door (Stockport Grammar School), and in the late 1960’s we used to have our “Speech Day” (prizegiving etc.) there. My best memory is of the whole school waiting for the guests to appear on stage, when out of the pit rose out elderly music teacher (name?) playing the Compton as if he had done so all his life, using all the bells, whistles and effects he could find – a magnificent performance with got him a huge cheer! I did see films and stage shows there as well – a truly great theatre. I believe the Copmton was saved and will be (is?) restored – can anyone confirm this?

Suwanti on June 26, 2005 at 1:43 pm

How could the school demolished such a beautiful theatre to make room for a car park, what a ridiculous event!

Ian on March 1, 2007 at 5:51 am

More photos of the Davenport here:-
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wurlitzermad on March 8, 2007 at 9:17 am

yes the compton was saved i just wish i was old enough to have played it in the cinema hmmmmmm i would have been 4 then when it was knocked down hehehe how time flys yes indeed the compton was saved and is currently in storage and has been since 1997 when demolition begun the interesting thing is that recordings were made just hours before it was demolished

woody on March 16, 2009 at 6:34 am

photos taken during demolition, a bit fuzzy as they were on a disposable 35mm camera
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woody on March 27, 2009 at 2:24 pm

and a shot from the rear showing the half demolished auditorium

Mike_Blakemore on May 30, 2013 at 9:32 am

I had a purchased a number of seats from this Theatre when it closed, for the Savoy Theatre Monmouth. We used these until we had enough funds to have brand new one..

goughi on November 22, 2017 at 3:10 pm

I know this is a very old thread but I stumbled across it and couldn’t help providing an update on the organ.

Yes, it was saved but has been in storage since the cinema closed as it is very difficult to find suitable venues for the installation of Cinema Pipe Organs.

The great news is that it’s being fully restored by the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust and installed in the Theatre Organ Heritage Centre in Peel Green, Eccles. It’s possible to see photos of it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/122181937985/

The re-opening is scheduled to happen in early 2018, with the opening concert being played by Joyce Alldred, who was the resident organist at The Davenport for many years.

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