41 Lichfield Street,
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Architects: Archibald Hurley Robinson
Styles: Renaissance Revival
Previous Names: Wood's New Picture Palace, Wood's Palace Cinema, Palace Cinema
The Wood family had long been associated with film exhibition in the Black Country and had operated films in Bilston Town Hall from 1910 when it was called Wood’s Palace.
They built the New Wood’s Picture Palace opposite the Town Hall which opened on 17th November 1921 with Mary Alden in “The Old Nest”.
Noted architect Archibald Hurley Robinson designed the building and Val Prince designed the interior decoration. It had seating in stalls and circle levels and had a barrelled ceiling, panels on the walls containing murals and a mural each side of the proscenium opening depicting song and dance. It was equipped with a large stage, a café and a billiard room. Wood’s Palace Cinema screened its first ‘talkie’ on 14th October 1929 when Pauline Frederick in “On Trial” hit the screen.
The Palace Cinema was leased to Oscar Deutsch from 2nd September 1936 and joined his ever expanding Odeon Theatres circuit. It was re-named Odeon from 30th September 1937 and the Rank Organisation were operating it when it closed on 22nd February 1964 with Peter Sellers in “Heavens Above”.
It was converted into a Top Rank Bingo Club and in 1971 it became a Surewin Bingo. In 1982 it became a Cascade Bingo Hall and was refurbished, the balcony was sealed off and a false ceiling was inserted from the front of the balcony across to the proscenium. The stage was also sealed off. Bingo ended in 1999 and the owner of the carpet shop next door purchased the building and opened it as a multi-purpose centre catering for the mainly Asian community called the Imperial Palace Club on 17th November 1999. Plans were made to restore the building to some of its original splendour. In May 2005, it came under new management and became the Imperial Banqueting Suite.
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