Palace Cinema

The Square,
Walsall, WS1 1PY

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., United Electric Theatres Ltd.

Architects: Harry E. Farmer

Firms: Hickton & Farmer

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Electric Picture Palace

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Palace Cinema

Tucked away in The Square, off Bridge Street, the Electric Picture Palace was the first purpose built cinema in Walsall. Operated by the United Electric Theatres Ltd. chain, it opened on 12th April 1912 with a seating capacity for 1,000. Designed by local Walsall architect Harry Farmer of the firm Hickton and Farmer the screen was at the entrance end of the building. It was closed during World War I and re-opened on 17th December 1917 with D.W. Griffiths "Intolerance".

In 1920, modernisations and improvements were carried out, which resulted in the auditorium being ‘turned around’ with the screen now at the opposite end on the building in a 20 feet long new extension. A balcony was added over the entrance, and this increased the seating capacity to 1,500. The Palace Cinema also received a new fa├žade and it re-opened on 3rd April 1920 with "Spiral of Death".

On 1st April 1936 it was taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain. ABC closed the Palace Cinema on 24th September 1955 with Norman Wisdom in "One Good Turn". The Palace Cinema was still doing good business, but as it was the third ABC operated cinema in the town, it was deemed uneconomic to install a full CinemaScope operation into this cinema which had a rather narrow proscenium arch. It was sold to the Walsall Observer newspaper and became a print shop, with a canteen in the balcony. The building has now been redeveloped as part of Old Square Shopping Centre.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

KEITHSELBY on October 10, 2011 at 7:28 pm

The shell of this building still stands as part of what was the Tesco store. It is still visible from the upper floor of the Old Square, but looks like it will soon disappear under plans for re-development. KS

Mike_Blakemore on April 26, 2014 at 5:25 pm

The Shell of the Old Palace Cinema had now been demolished

Mike_Blakemore on April 17, 2018 at 1:46 pm

It looks from the picture that the old Palace was knocked down except for the Entrance and rebuilt longer ang higher with a Balcony and Projection box on the front of the building

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