Adelphi Cinema

37 Main Street,
Bangor, BT20

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Adelphi Kinema, Picture House, New Adelphi Cinema

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On Easter Saturday 6 April 1912 Bangor’s first cinema, the Picture House, opened. The building on Main Street was originally ‘a famous dance hall’ and according to the report in the County Down Spectator it had a sloped floor, ‘more than was usual in such places’, was spacious (80ft x 30ft), and able to accommodate almost 500 persons who were provided with ‘comfortable and handsome tip-up seats’. Barely two years after opening, its owners Irish Electric Palaces announced that a larger, more comfortable venue was needed. Main Street was retained, as a secondary venue, and possibly only until 1916 for films and a tad longer (to 1918?) for live performances. (See separate entry on Cinema Treasures for Palace Cinema, Quay Street, Bangor.)

In November 1928, the former premises of the Picture House in Main Street got a new lease of life. The operator of the Adelphi Kinema was the Rialto Kinema Co., general manager Mr. J. Menary, secretary Mr. B. Walsh. The report in the local Spectator newspaper said the premises had been largely reconditioned and equipment of the most modern kind installed. It had a 30ft wide proscenium. Less than a year later, 11th September 1929, the talkies arrived; this was Bangor’s first sound cinema when it was equipped with a British Talking Pictures(BTP) sound system which was later replaced by a RCA sound system.

In 1934 it was reported that a super-cinema would be erected on the site but nothing more was heard about this. The impending arrival of another super-cinema may have caused the owners to rethink. By 1940, the company behind the Adelphi Kinema was known as Adelphi Cinemas Ltd., it was registered at 133 Royal Avenue, Belfast, the address of the Supreme Cinema’s group.

An advertisement, again it was in the Count Down Spectator, announced that the Adelphi Cinema would cease operations after close of business on Saturday 15th April 1950, reopening (as the New Adelphi) on Monday 5 June under ‘new control’ following the completion of a re-equipment, reseating, alterations and renovation (the Kinema name had disappeared long before then). Despite the optimism which the owners entertained at the time of the re-launch, it would be relatively short-lived; the New Adelphi Cinema appears to have closed around 25th March 1960.

Contributed by Torchlight
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