Derby Cinema, Caergwrle, Wrexham.

The Derby Cinema

Castle Street,

Caergwrle, LL12 9DS

Opened: During 1921.

Originally owned by: May Rollinson & M. E. Rollinson.

Other owners:  J. Jervis.   F. R. Croley.

Builders:  W. E. Eccleston & Son.

Managed by:  Newlove and Milner of Chester.

Closed:   Early 1960.


Building work commenced during 1920 un this moderately sized silent cinema on Castle Street, Caergwrle, Near Wrexham.  Mrs. May Rollinson and M. E. Rollinson of the The Derby Arms were behind the venture. The builders were W. E. Eccleston & Son.

The Derby Cinema

The design both inside and out was described as basic.  The exterior’s frontage had  extensions that were attached to the main structure of the auditorium, the largest of which was central and at street level had the main entrance door. Above this was the projection room. Other rooms that were needed for the operation requirements of a cinema formed the other small extensions that were attached at the front elevation of the half-timbered building. There was no canopy and just a “step-in” vestibule that served as an entrance foyer. The cash desk was little more than a serving hatch on the side wall..

The entrance vestibule & cash desk of the Derby Cinema

The proscenium was 22′ wide, which was of a generous proportion considering the width dimension of the auditorium. It is of little doubt that the name, “Derby Cinema” was passed across from The Derby Arms, that stands on Derby Road that was run by the Rollinsons.

Opening for business during 1921, the cinema was able to attract customers not only from Caergwrle, but from nearby villages such as, Llay, Kinnerton, Leeswood, Coed Talon, Cymau, Ffrith and Llanfyhydd.

The Derby Cinema enjoyed buoyant business, with a necessity for customers to pre-book their seats rather than having to stand in queues. As the presentation improved with the addition of sound the attendances remained good.

During 1946, after twenty five years the business was transferred to Mr. J Jervis, who also operated the Palace cinema, in nearby Buckley. As the cinema exhibition industry moved from it’s heydays in the 1940s to the rather bumpy 1950s, the Derby Cinema, like so many other small independent cinemas, began to struggle to attract a reasonable amount of patrons to make their businesses viable.

The Derby Cinema photographed in the 1950s.

Large cinemas in nearby towns and cities like Chester and Wrexham had barring restrictions on independent exhibitors, no matter how small, preventing them showing first run films. These restrictions and other forms of competition diluted the once healthy attendances, marking the end of cinema use of the building.

Click on the above frame to view a preview of “VIENNESE NIGHTS”


Shown at the Derby cinema in 1932

At the beginning of 1960, the cinema was now operated by Mr. F. R. Croley of Brecon. He told the local press that he was “closing the Derby Cinema because of poor attendances”.

The building was gutted and put to an industrial use as a mechanical engineering, known as M&E Services.

The Derby cinema building utilized for commercial use.

Additional detail supplied by Roger Shonecopyright