National Picture Theatre

144 Beverley Road,
Hull, HU3 1UX

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Firms: Runton & Barry

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National Picture Theatre

Located in Hull, Humberside, to the north of the city on Beverley Road at the corner of Fountain Road. Opened on 23rd December 1914, the National Picture Theatre was a long and fairly narrow cinema. It had a handsome façade in redbrick, dressed in Portland stone. There were 1,050 seats in stalls and balcony levels. The proscenium was 24 foot wide, and to begin with there was a resident orchestra. In 1923 it was equipped with a Fitton & Haley 2 manual ‘straight’ organ. Western Electric(WE) sound was installed in 1930. The cinema was run in conjunction with the Theatre de Luxe (later the Cecil Theatre), and was a comfortable and popular cinema judging by contemporary accounts.

Both cinemas were destroyed by German bombs on the night of 17th & 18th March 1941. Hull was only second to London for war damage, and six Hull cinemas were destroyed in that particular raid. After the National Picture Theatre was destroyed in the raid, the ‘National’ name was transferred to the Coliseum/Rialto Cinema on Terry Street (just off Beverley Road) a name it kept until it was closed in 1961.

Whilst the Cecil Theatre’s remains were cleared in 1953, the derelict ruins of the National Picture Theatre lingered on. In February 2007, they were Listed Grade II as an historic building by the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, as one of the last relics of bomb damage remaining in the UK. Only the façade and parts of the foyer remain. Heritage Lottery funding of £11,200 has already been granted.

Plans were announced in March 2019 that £500,000 would be spent on the façade being stabilised and restored and that the empty space where the auditorium stood will be roofed over to create an education centre and war memorial, subject to approval of a further £289,000 funds from the Heritage Lottery and £188,000 from the local council. Completion of the transformation is expected by September 2020.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

bobtomgrim on December 1, 2017 at 9:33 am

That’s a great idea for this site as I’ve just watched a BBC2 programme called The Blitz in which this cinema was mentioned.

Mike_Blakemore on April 25, 2020 at 1:08 pm

I have loaded a picture of the cinema in better times

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