Elite Picture Theatre

33 Upper Parliament Street,
Nottingham, NG1 2BP

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd.

Architects: James E. Adamson

Firms: Adamson and Kinns

Functions: Nightclub, Office Space, Retail

Styles: Beaux-Arts

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Elite Picture Theatre

This was one of the first in a new breed of ‘super-cinema’ to be built in Nottingham. Designed by the London architectural firm of Adamson & Kinns, the facade and exterior side walls were treated in an expensive white glazed tiling and contained statues along the upper portion of the building. Internally the decoration was carried out by interior designer Fred A. Foster who created a stunning interior with the auditorium walls lined with wood panels and a great deal of decorative plaster. Seating was provided in stalls and circle levels.

It opened on 22nd August 1921 with Mary Pickford in "Pollyanna". There was a grand concert organ by the firm of Willis-Lewis which had 78 stops, plus a full orchestra. The facilities within the building also included a a restaurant, a Georgian Tea Room, a French Cafe in Louis XVI style and a large ballroom located on the top floor.

The first ‘talkie’ in Nottingham was shown at the Elite Picture Theatre, George Jessel in "Lucky Boy" and after its screening, the cinema was closed for several weeks in July 1929 for a re-furbishment. A new Compton 2Manual/6Ranks organ was installed which was opened by Cyril Birmingham.

In October 1935 the Elite Picture Theatre was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) and they operated the building for most of the remainder of its life. There were plans to demolish it in 1972, but they were not carried out and EMI had taken over ABC and they eventually closed the Elite Picture Theatre in March 1977. In the last few years of operation the Elite Picture Theatre had played ‘off circuit’ releases as ABC had their main Carlton Cinema in the town centre. The last films to play the Elite Picture Theatre were the (X) certificate double bill; "Erotic Young Lovers" and "Take an Easy Ride".

EMI converted the cinema into a bingo hall which continued until the early-1990’s. The building was granted a Grade II Listed building status in 1990, saving it from demolition plans and it is now converted into use as a nightclub, with some retail and office use.

It has now been upgraded to a Grade II* Listed building.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Ian on October 13, 2007 at 1:53 am

Another exterior view here:–

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jrhine on February 22, 2008 at 12:02 pm

The original organ in the Elite was a three manual Willis.

woody on March 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm

luckily saved from being destroyed by fire feb 2009
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what is it with cinemas and fires?

woody on March 6, 2009 at 2:26 pm

stunning shot of the auditorium
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abcman on March 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm

What a great photo.Never did any managerial reliefs in Nottingham when I was with ABC. Wish I had now, this looked a stunning auditorium.

Mike_Blakemore on October 27, 2011 at 4:03 am

I did a number of Holiday Manager reliefs there. In the early 70’s the Auditorium at that stage was in very poor nic. The staff where good to work with..I remember one the films showing at the time was “Love They Neigbour” My Theatre at the time was being converted to a 3 screener.. The Elite was an oddity ABC-EMI only had a 50% interest the other was the landlord that owned the block.. When The Cinema was built.. They discovered there was Projection box…. So they ended up with a very tight one and the Projectionist had to be a acrobat to get to it… Projection Equipment was Ross GC3s with RCA sound…

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