Ritz Cinema

Market Street,
Crewe, CW1

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cheshire County Cinemas, Star Cinemas

Styles: Neo-Classical

Previous Names: Co-operative Hall, Kino, King Picture House

Nearby Theaters

Ritz cinema Crewe

Located on Co-operative Street, which today does not exist due to re-development. The Co-operative Hall was built and opened in 1900. At that time, it was the main entertainment venue in Crewe, and presented variety performances and by 1909 also films. Seating was provided for 1,400, the stage was 18 feet deep, the proscenium 30 feet wide, and there were two dressing rooms.

In 1918 it was refurbished and re-named Kino. By 1934, it had been re-named King Picture House. The King Picture House was closed on 2nd April 1960 with Martine Carrol in “The Stowaways” and Vincent Price in “The Bat”.

A year later, it was taken over by the Leeds based Star Cinemas chain. After a 20,000 Pound refurbishment, it re-opened as the Ritz Cinema, with a reduced seating capacity of 727. Re-opening with James Robertson Justice & Leslie Phillips in “Raising the Wind” on 19th October 1961, with Leslie Phillips making a personal appearance.

The Ritz Cinema was closed on 28th August 1983 with Irene Cara in “Fame” and Olivia Newton John in “Xanadu”. It was demolished in a redevelopment of the entire area, the site of the former cinema is now a car park off West Street by the shopping mall.

Contributed by Shaun Green, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

bla on October 30, 2017 at 10:55 am

I’m not aware that the cinema was re-named from Kino to King. Both my parents and a lot of other people, including the old chief projectionist from the Ritz always stated that it was the Kino right up until its closure prior to the Star Group lease on the building in 1961. I even have some original correspondence from the Star Group from 1961 which refers to “the former Kino Cinema” discussing such things as the refurbishment including an interesting debate as to whether the gas secondary lighting should be retained or removed. I suspect the researcher may have been misled by a typographical error. What is the provenance for the information relating to the Kin(g)o please?

PS They did decide to take the gas out, although the original gas lighting fittings remained backstage in the old dressing rooms. A new battery secondary lighting installation was fitted in the right-hand under staircase area accessed from the ground floor gents toilet.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 31, 2017 at 5:28 am

bia: It was listed in editions of Kine Yearbook 1934 & 1937 as the King Picture Theatre (could have been a typo, but if so, would(should) have been corrected over the years). By 1944 it was listed as the Kino

Terry White
Terry White on April 12, 2018 at 3:24 am

I can confirm that this cinema was known locally as The Kino. It was always advertised in the local press and billboard advertising by this name. My grandmother used to visit there several times a week. I am sure that the cinema, before it’s Ritz day’s, was operated by a Mr & Mrs Hand. I think from memory they may also have operated the EMPIRE in Heath St. Crewe and The GRAND in West St. Crewe.

I have never been able to find any reference to the EMPIRE anywhere which is a shame because despite being it being a little worse for wear I think it may have been an early exponent in Crewe of Cinemascope presentation. I clearly remember seeing “The King And I” there as a child, my father and mother being disgusted that it was not being screened at the Odeon in Crewe.

Details of the Grand are elsewhere on this page under “Nearby Theatres”

Was the old chief at the Ritz Brian Roscoe?

bla on October 7, 2018 at 10:15 am

Hi Terry, the Chief was Brian Roscroe, not Roscoe.

I note an error in the entry for the cinema. It closed with Fame. Not Fame and Xanadu. The latter film was never shown at The Ritz, it was shown at The Lyceum Theatre near by.

The Empire was an ABC cinema in its latter days. It’s a pity it didn’t survive. Out of 6 cinemas in Crewe, only The Palace remains. How sad. Nantwich had two early cinema’s and both buildings are surpisingly, still standing, although one is highly modified as part of the Chatwins bakery. Do you remember either of these?

Terry White
Terry White on March 31, 2019 at 3:59 am

Hi everyone and many thanks to yourself bia for your information regarding Brian Roscroe. There was another young chap working as a projectionist at the Ritz at that time (early 60’s) but I am afraid his name now escapes me. Little did I realise at that time that I would finish my cinema days also working for the Star Group, who operated the Ritz, at the Majestic in Bridgnorth some twenty years later. I did not know that the Empire had been operated by ABC. Have you any knowledge of the dates? And was the Empire demolished at the same time as that part of the town centre was redeveloped. Again any dates would be useful. I only remember the Regal at Nantwich but not in any great detail and so have nothing new to contribute I’m afraid.


P.S. Sorry for long delay in replying. I am afraid I just forgot about the post!!!

Philip Picturedrome
Philip Picturedrome on February 4, 2021 at 11:07 pm

Runcorn Guardian - Friday 24 January 1913 MESSRS. HAMILTON AND HUGHES AT CREWE. Messrs. Hamilton and Hughes are extending their enterprise to Crewe. They have secured the Co-operative Hall in the town on a lease, and will shortly open it with an entertainment on the lines of their Widnes, Runcorn and Northwich successes. Incidentally, Hamilton & Hughes would form Cheshire County Cinemas in 1922.

Biffaskin on October 26, 2023 at 3:02 pm

Star went over to bingo, called Ritz bingo. This was the building’s last use before closure and demolition. I’m trying to find out if the reduction in seating was as a result of being split, with the former balcony retained as a cinema, and the stalls going over to bingo.

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