Art Cinema

36 Haymarket Street,
Bury, BL9 0AY

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Additional Info

Architects: Albert Winstanley

Functions: Bar

Styles: Baroque

Previous Names: Art Picture Palace

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Art Cinema

The Art Picture Palace was a 1923 rebuild of the earlier Art Picture Hall (which has its own page on Cinema Treasures) both designed by architect Albert Winstanley. The Art Picture Palace was opened on 26th January 1923. A remarkably complete survivor of a 1920’s cine-variety house executed in an elaborate style.

It is constructed of a brick clad steel frame under a slate and asphalt roof. There is a stage and full height fly tower.

The exterior in white faience tiles is of three stories and nine symmetrical bays. There is a round arched central window at 1st and 2nd floor level and the words ‘Art Pictures’ to the left and ‘Art Cafe’ to the right.

The centre is crowned by stepped pedimented parapets. The ground floor level has been altered to allow greater access and light to the bar and originally the two outer bays had intricate arches with large keystones all done in faience.

Internally there is a very small foyer with marble stairs and a gilded metal balustrade with 1920’s style Roman decoration leading to the balcony and doors leading to the ground floor of the theatre.

The ground floor was divided between stalls and the cheaper pit (under balcony area) whilst upstairs the single balcony of 12 rows was returned along the side walls to the proscenium by way of two bow fronted boxes on either side. Unusually the projection box was downstairs under the balcony.

The proscenium arch is unusually deeply arched and is supported on Ionic pilasters which were also used to frame the boxes.

A deep, richly decorated, barrel vault ceiling covered the front area with a raised and domed ceiling over the rear of the balcony. All is encrusted with Baroque motifs. There are three ventilation roundels.

The fronts of the boxes and circle also contain richly detailed plasterwork in post Edwardian Baroque style. Although opened in 1923 it has the feel of an older era.

There was a large 1st floor cafe utilizing the balcony void area which is now a lounge. This was sometimes advertised as the Indian Lounge Cafe on account of is decor! It was equipped with a locally made Reed, Franklin & Heywood 2 manual organ which was opened by organist W. Williams.

Films ceased in February 1965 and it became a bingo club. Later converted into a billiard hall until 19th May 1991 when it became a bingo club again. It later became a Chicago Rock Cafe, and since 23rd October 2009 as a pub in the J.D. Wetherspoon chain, known as the Art Picture House. The balcony is open but unused at present.

In 1995 the former Art Cinema was designated a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Ian on February 7, 2007 at 2:00 pm

The architect, Albert Winstanley, designed several cinema and theatre buildings, mainly in the North West of England, and few of which survive today. Amongst his projects were Grand Lancaster (1908); Queens Carlisle (1909); Empire Fleetwood (1909); Theatre Royal Whitehaven (1909); Queens Castleford (1909); Lyceum Crewe (1911); Art Bury (1911); Playhouse Wakefield (1913); Savoy Romiley (1934).

Ian on February 7, 2007 at 2:23 pm

Albert Winstanley was born in Scotland in 1876. He was initially employed in a practice led by Arnold England but soon had his own company with offices at 49 Deansgate Manchester and in Lytham St Annes. From 1919 to 1928 Charles Hamilton Mackeith was his assisant. To the above list can be added a rebuild of the Art Picture Theatre New Mills(1921). He died in 1943.

Ian on August 19, 2007 at 3:43 pm

A photo taken around 1972 here:–

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Ian on December 22, 2007 at 7:32 pm

More scanned images of the interior from 1988 here:–

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TLSLOEWS on January 1, 2010 at 12:32 am

Nice looking pool hall.

andertpj on January 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Albert Winstanley built and lived in my childhood home in Lytham St Annes named Kingswear (we still have this house). The address is 53 Orchard Rd, St Annes, FY8 1PG. I believe he had offices on St Annes Crescent (Imperial Chambers) as an architect and surveyor for many years. He designed a theater in Crew- the staff of which were kind enough to send me scans of his sketches.

Paul Anderton

madorganplayer on May 10, 2023 at 11:22 pm

The organ must have been ejected by the early thirties as it was soon equipped with a Compton 3c/5 theatre organ.This organ although not still in the Art is still in existance.The organist at one time there was a Mr Arthur Turner.Arther married into money and bought his own cinema,the Hollywood Plaza in Scarborough.There he bought and installed the Wurlitzer organ from the Ritz ABC Ipswich.A man with money he was,an organ builder he wasnt.The thing was cobbled together and it was a miracle it played at all.

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