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Previously operated by: Brennan's Cinemas Ltd.
In Wigan town centre, after the Kings Electric Theatre/New Princes Cinema had been demolished (see separate Cinema Treasures entry) the Princes Cinema, built at a cost of £30,000, arose in its place. This new cinema was funded by Falcon Pictures, a syndicate of local businessmen. It was a most attractive building, though hard to fully appreciate due to its position in the narrow passage, off Wallgate, next to the Clarence Hotel. Nevertheless, neon lighting and floodlights made the best of the situation.
Always something of a ‘hot potato’, the Princes Cinema had moved on again by December 1935, having been acquired by George Wilson. From him, ownership moved to Buxton Theatres in January 1939. Harry Buxton, the dynamic chairman, said that up to £5,000 was to be spent modernising the five year old cinema, with a new heating system and wiring for television reception. Under this go-ahead management the cinema acquired a reputation for its expert publicity stunts, talent contests and live acts.
After the war the cinema came under the ownership of James Brennan Theatres.
When the ‘X’ certificate was introduced the Princes Cinema developed a practice of showing controversial films, though there was criticism from the local Watch Committee that they were, at times, used as ‘stooges’ to imply that films were racier that they actually were!
But even sex, violence and controversy couldn’t save the Princes Cinema in the end, and it closed on 10th January 1970 with “The Mad Room”, starring Shelley Winters and Stella Stevens.
The building has since been used, off and on between periods when its future has been threatened, as a cabaret club and disco. In the early-2000’s the Pure nightclub which had been operating in the County Playhouse (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures) was moved into the Princes Cinema.
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