Princes Cinema

Clarence Yard,
Wigan, WN1 1JU

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Brennan's Cinemas Ltd.

Functions: Nightclub

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Princes Cinema

In Wigan town centre, after the Kings Electric Theatre/New Princes Cinema had been demolished (see separate Cinema Treasures entry) the Princes Cinema, built at a cost of £30,000, arose in its place. This new cinema was funded by Falcon Pictures, a syndicate of local businessmen. It was a most attractive building, though hard to fully appreciate due to its position in the narrow passage, off Wallgate, next to the Clarence Hotel. Nevertheless, neon lighting and floodlights made the best of the situation.

Always something of a ‘hot potato’, the Princes Cinema had moved on again by December 1935, having been acquired by George Wilson. From him, ownership moved to Buxton Theatres in January 1939. Harry Buxton, the dynamic chairman, said that up to £5,000 was to be spent modernising the five year old cinema, with a new heating system and wiring for television reception. Under this go-ahead management the cinema acquired a reputation for its expert publicity stunts, talent contests and live acts.

After the war the cinema came under the ownership of James Brennan Theatres.

When the ‘X’ certificate was introduced the Princes Cinema developed a practice of showing controversial films, though there was criticism from the local Watch Committee that they were, at times, used as ‘stooges’ to imply that films were racier that they actually were!

But even sex, violence and controversy couldn’t save the Princes Cinema in the end, and it closed on 10th January 1970 with “The Mad Room”, starring Shelley Winters and Stella Stevens.

The building has since been used, off and on between periods when its future has been threatened, as a cabaret club and disco. In the early-2000’s the Pure nightclub which had been operating in the County Playhouse (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures) was moved into the Princes Cinema.

Contributed by David Simpson

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Ian on November 19, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Exterior photo from 1996 here:–


terry on November 19, 2015 at 5:18 pm

I always thought it strange that Brennans gave priority over the purpose built and more modern Princes to the Court Cinema, King Street which was a partial reconstruction of a Victorian legitimate theatre. One theory is the larger capacity of the Court but we are speaking of only 136 seats.

In the above photo taken after closure of the Princes can just be discerned the title of the last feature presentation ‘The Mad Room’ (Shelley Winters)……

terry on November 12, 2019 at 1:28 pm

Late 1940’s shot uploaded of queue for Universal double bill of ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Dracula’.

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