West End Cinema
Suffolk Street Queensway and Holiday Street,
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Architects: Frederick J. Pepper
Styles: Tudor Revival
Previous Names: Curzon Hall, New Century Picture Theatre
The Curzon Hall opened in 1864 as an exhibition hall. In 1899 Waller Jeffs began screening his ‘Living Picture Shows’ in the building which at that time had a seating capacity of 3,000. It was later re-named New Century Picture Theatre as a full time cinema. It was closed during World War I and was used as a recruiting office for troops.
In 1925 it was extensivly altered by architect Frederick J. Pepper and re-opened as the West End Cinema and Dance Hall on 9th March 1925. The opening programme was "Zeebrugge" and Jack Holt in "Wanderer of the Wasteland".
From 1st May 1926 it was taken over by Provincial Cinematograph Theatres(PCT) and a Wurlitzer 2Manual/8Ranks theatre organ was installed, opened by organist Charles Willis. In later years the popular organist Reginald Dixon was resident here. From February 1929 PCT were taken over by Gaumont British Theatre Corp. and they operated the West End Cinema for the remainder of its life, via the GB take-over by the Rank Organisation.
Apart from the West End Dance Hall (later named Top Rank West End Ballroom) at the corner of Holiday Street, the building also contained a restaurant for the patrons to enjoy. The West End Cinema was always a popular city centre cinema and during the mid-1960’s it played several 70mm ‘Roadshow’ presentations, including “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines”.
The West End Cinema was closed on 27th March 1965 and the organ was removed. However, the cinema got a reprieve and the Rank Organisation re-opened it a few weeks later. The building had been sold for re-development and it finally closed on 18th March 1967 with Yul Brynner in "Return of the Seven" and Hugh O'Brien in "Ambush Bay". After demolition new studios and offices for Alpha TeleVision (ATV Centre) were built on the site in 1969 and operated until 1973. These have since been demolished and the Crowne Plaza Hotel is now on the site.
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