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The Cinema was "The Regent" Last Owner I remember was a Mr Gupta. Who owned a Car dealership.... Projectors where GB Kalee 21s British Accustic Sound. English Films booking was done by Jonny Brockington. When I worked with him at the ABC Cinema New Street..
Viewing: Photo | Street View
The Curzon Hall opened in 1864 as an exhibition hall. In 1899 Waller Jeffs began screening his ‘Living Picture Shows’ in the building which at that time had a seating capacity of 3,000. It was later re-named New Century Picture Theatre as a full time cinema. It was closed during World War I and was used as a recruiting office for troops.
In 1925 it was extensivly altered by architect Frederick J. Pepper and re-opened as the West End Cinema and Dance Hall on 9th March 1925. The opening programme was "Zeebrugge" and Jack Holt in "Wanderer of the Wasteland".
From 1st May 1926 it was taken over by Provincial Cinematograph Theatres(PCT) and a Wurlitzer 2Manual/8Ranks theatre organ was installed, opened by organist Charles Willis. In later years the popular organist Reginald Dixon was resident here. From February 1929 PCT were taken over by Gaumont British Theatre Corp. and they operated the West End Cinema for the remainder of its life, via the GB take-over by the Rank Organisation.
Apart from the West End Dance Hall the building also contained a restaurant for the patrons to enjoy. The West End Cinema was always a popular city centre cinema and during the mid-1960’s it played several 70mm ‘Roadshow’ presentations.
The West End Cinema was closed on 27th March 1965 and the organ was removed. However, the cinema got a reprieve and the Rank Organisation re-opened it a few weeks later. The building had been sold for re-development and it finally closed on 18th March 1967 with Yul Brynner in "Return of the Seven" and Hugh O'Brien in "Ambush Bay".
This Item was produced by Ken Rowe. Who I collaberate with .. The Cinema was Birminghams First Full-Time Cinema...
I travelled past the Royalty in Harborne today and it had a notice of auction dated September but no "Sold" sign. It's in a bad state of repair with a carwash in front.
My Nan use to play bingo there as the bus-stop was right outside.
I have written many times about the "Royalty", and its impact on my early life. I lost my old school demolished, The old Harborne Baths, The duke of York Pub, looks like I am about to lose the Royalty, I do wish the powers to be would stop demolishing everything in Birmingham and start preserving things instead. sad day. Paul
I used to go to The Picture House Harborne. It was a real old fashioned place with little emergency gas lamps on both walls. There was no balcony and the front doors opened straight onto a small vestibule with a small ticket office and double entrance either side. It had no proscenium arch as you would normally expect, and the curtains (silver) hung from a track on the ceiling. Occasionally, the film broke and we'd stamp our feet and whistle till the picture returned. When Cinemascope arrived, they couldn't install a wide screen as there were exit doors either side, so they put in a big square screen with descending masking that left a strip of picture across the bottom. Not quite what 20th Century Fox had in mind. When I first started attending they had a curtain winder. As the film was finishing, he'd walk down the aisle and duck behind the little curtain stretched across the bottom of the screen. You could see him looking for THE END. Then he'd wind the handle to close the curtains. He stayed there till the censors certificate for the next film appeared on the curtains, then he'd open them. When we look at the multiplexes today we realise what a long way we've come.