Victoria Cinema

4 Market Hill,
Cambridge, CB2 3NJ

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Electric Theatre

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In Cambridge city centre, in 1897, the Reverend Peter H. Mason built the Victoria Assembly Rooms. In about 1903 Alfred James Pointer became the lessee. He sub-let the various rooms for a variety of purposes; by October 1909, the largest room had become the Victoria Skating Rink.

By 1911 the skating boom had passed. Adrian Pierre Jordan was sub-leasing the large room and he engaged a builder, E C Northfield, of Castle Street, Cambridge, to construct a “Cinematograph Lantern Operator’s Room”. This was built about 12ft off the floor, above the central entrance doors.

The Electric Theatre duly opened on Thursday 6th July 1911 with “High Class Animated Pictures” running continuously from 6pm to 10.30pm. There were 285 seats.

Somewhat belatedly, Mr. Jordan applied for a Cinematograph Licence the following month, so he could screen inflammable films. Despite his pleas, the magistrates refused him (for reasons that are not known) so he had to continue with non-inflammable films.

In September 1912 the Electric Theatre was taken over by Cambridge Picture Playhouses Ltd. (of which Mr. Jordan was managing director). That company ran the cinema until Saturday 29th May 1915, when it closed on expiry of its lease.

Mr. Pointer, who had, meanwhile, expanded the other areas to include tea rooms catering for 140 customers, made a number of alterations to the cinema space, including a reduction in seating capacity to 241, and reopened it as the Victoria Cinema on Monday 12th July 1915. He offered “High Class Pictures and Music”, continuous from 3pm to 10.30pm. The following month he re-applied for a Cinematograph Licence. This time one was granted, the Chief Constable confirming that the alterations had been completed most satisfactorily.

The Victoria Cinema closed on Saturday 16th March 1929 with Richard Dix in the ironically titled “Easy Come, Easy Go”. Mr. Pointer clearly relinquished the whole building, as the cafĂ© was also cleared out, as was his flat on the top floor. The contents were sold by auction on the premises on Wednesday 20th March 1929.

The building was converted into Electricity Offices and Showrooms. It is not known when it was demolished.

(A replacement Victoria Cinema duly opened, very close by, at 6 & 9-11 Market Hall, on the site of former shops, offices and printing works, in August 1931: see separate Cinema Treasures entry.)

Contributed by David Simpson
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