The Electric

The Electric

Electric Theatre, Select, Tatler, Jacey, Tivoli, Classic

A remarkably resilient little cinema tucked behind New Street Station, the Electric has taken on many guises during a century and more of showing films.

One of Birmingham’s very first dedicated picture-houses when it opened as the Electric Theatre in late 1909, the building was substantially remodelled in the 1930s when Joseph Cohen’s Jacey company converted it into the Tatler News Theatre.

After three decades of newsreels and cartoons it was renamed the Jacey, with a programme dominated by adult films during the 70s. The Classic / Tivoli years of the 80s offered a mixture of softcore porn and recent blockbusters, and then in 1993 it became the Electric again with a programme of independent and world cinema.

2004 saw a shift to sofa seating and slightly more mainstream programming, and after a period of uncertainty during the pandemic the cinema reopened once more under new management.

“BIRMINGHAM CINEMA FIRE – AUDIENCE UNAWARE OF MISHAP. Owing to prompt action by the operators, patrons at the Select Cinema, Station-street, Birmingham, last night, were unaware of a fierce fire in the projection room. This is the second cinema fire in Birmingham in a few days.

The Gazette was informed that two spools containing 2,000 feet of film caught fire and were totally destroyed. The programme was interrupted for only a short period. The Birmingham City Fire Brigade were summoned, but on arrival found the fire had been extinguished.”

47-49 Station St, Birmingham B5 4DY

“On the night of Thursday, November 21st, 1974, Lois and Malcolm met at a quarter to eight, on the south-east corner of Holloway Circus, outside the Odeon Queensway.

They cut through the Smallbrook underpass and walked down Hill Street, a route which gave them a view of the Jacey Cinema, where customers were this week being offered a choice between Girls Led Astray, When Girls Undress and Love Play Swedish Style.”

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“Past the Maypole and Bates’s Toy corner (owned by Nick Rhodes’ mum) through Kings Heath with its massive Sainsbury’s supermarket where I now worked a weekend job, past Neville Chamberlain’s old residence in Moseley and the Edgbaston Cricket Club, up on to the Bristol Road and past the ABC cinema (now a McDonald’s), peeling off at the Albany Hotel, taking a right at the Crown pub and past the Jacey cinema, where mum and I used to watch cartoons and shorts, but by then showed 24-hour porn. Then, in a moment, out of the daylight and into the depths of the bus depot.”

We’d love to hear about your film-going experiences in Birmingham. From memories of amazing screenings or communal experiences, to grand days out at the pictures or more personal recollections. How has visiting the cinema shaped your life, and your experience of our city?

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Watched Bladerunner Final cut her amazing cinema, think it’s the oldest in the UK

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