The Bristol

Also known as… ABC Bristol Road, Cannon Bristol Road History The Bristol Cinema was built on the site of the old Edgbaston Conservative Club in Spring Vale, and a stream had to be diverted to make way for it. Designed on a nautical theme, on opening night in 1937 the Evening Despatch described it as […]

The Carlton

Also known as… Carlton Picture Theatre History The Carlton had a striking half domed entrance and an exterior of blue brick and terracotta.¬†Numerous local contractors were involved – including Bryants construction firm and upholstery by WW Turner – and it was the first Birmingham cinema with a lift to take patrons up to the balcony. […]

The Elite

Also known as… Elite Picture House, Elite Cinema Club History The Elite Picture House stood next to Handsworth Library on Soho Road. It opened in summer 1913 and for its first few years was managed by a Mrs Worman, Birmingham’s first female cinema manager. Having been one of the earliest picture houses in the area […]

The Imperial

Also known as… Imperial Picture Palace, New Imperial, ABC Imperial, Liberty, CAVE Key information Opened: 1914 Closed: 1995 Capacity: 950 (prev 460) Architect: Satchwell and Roberts (original designed by LL Dussault) Current Status: Demolished History The Imperial Picture Palace opened on the corner of Moseley Road and Clifton Road in January 1914, joining a cluster […]

The Kingsway

Also known as… Essoldo Kings Heath History Built during the silent era to cater to the fast-growing suburb of Kings Heath, the Kingsway was designed by prolific Birmingham cinema architect Horace G Bradley. It became part of the Essoldo circuit in the late 70s, and then despite a local campaign to keep the doors open […]

The Luxor

Also known as… Balsall Heath Picture House, Starlight Cinema History One of the earliest among a cluster of cinemas in the area, the Balsall Heath Picture House opened in November 1913 with The Forsaken and The Intruder. Prolific Birmingham architects Satchwell and Roberts redesigned it in 1932, adding a balcony and a waiting lounge, and […]

Odeon Kingstanding

History One of the most iconic of the 1930s Odeons, and arguably one of the most influential cinema designs full stop. A young architect at the Harry Weedon practice, J Cecil Clavering took inspiration from Germany, the USA and Dreamland in Margate when drawing up the towering fins for the Odeon Kingstanding. Its life as […]

Odeon Queensway

Also known as… The Scala Superama, Cinecenta, Odeon Ringway, Star Cinemas (the Cinecenta) History The Scala Superama opened in November 1964 with James Aubrey in Lord of the Flies & Kenneth More in The Comedy Man. The following year the Compton group also opened the Cinecenta next door which would show X-rated screenings. The Superama […]

The Piccadilly

Also known as… ABC Sparkbrook, Dreamland History Built on the site of the early Picturedrome, the Piccadilly was part of the wave of ‘super cinemas’ which swept the country in the early 30s. After a period as part of the ABC chain it was reborn in the 70s as Dreamland, offering a mix of Hollywood […]

Picture Playhouse

History The old Picture Playhouse had seating for over 500 and was rated as one of the best suburban picture houses of the period. It had an ornamental exterior and was well designed inside with hot water heating, artistic wallpaper, plush carpets and furnishings. Admission prices were from 2d to 1/-. and in the silent […]