Date opened: 24th December 1932.
Date Closed: 30th September 1961.
Owners: Granada Cinema Ltd.
Architect: A E Shannon, FRIBA.
Main Building Contractors: C J Doyle of Liverpool.
Capacity: Balcony-593. Stalls-1210. Total= 1803 seats.
Opening film: “The Rosary” starring Margot Grahame and Walter Piers.
First manager: W. Speakman.
Final films shown: “Gold of the Seven Saints” starring Clint Walker.
Permission for building this new cinema was put forward by Robert Wilkinson during the early 1930s. As the area was rapidly expanding with the construction of the Dovecot housing estate with more than a thousand new council homes already occupied with a further four thousand planned, it was an ideal opportunity to build a quality cinema adjoining a shopping area that would provide entertainment for the people of this new district on the east side of Liverpool.
With a budget of £40000, the architect was A E Shannon, FRIBA, he designed a building that would seat 593 in the balcony with a further 1210 seats in the stalls, with a respectable overall capacity of 1803 seats. The building contractor was C J Doyle of Liverpool.
The towering facade was built in sand-faced brick with several tall slim windows and stone dressing, this helped to relieve the blandness of so much brickwork. A concrete and glass canopy sheltered the expanse of five paired sets of entrance doors. There was a large car park to the side of the cinema.
The entrance vestibule had a central pay box flanked either side by doors that led into the lower stalls foyer. Staircases located to the left and right of this vestibule (seen clearly in the above photograph) took patrons up to a large comfortable foyer that measured 42′ x 37′, decorated in stippled orange Marble-coat, with bold borders and chevrons in red and black.
Several large settees, chairs and tables completed the furnishing. Off this foyer were crush vestibules that led to the vomit steps that gained entrance onto the cross-over gangway of the balcony. Seats throughout the cinema were upholstered with Lister rich green moquette.
The auditorium was modern and sleek in appearance. Except for the proscenium frame it had little raised plaster work and depended more on the artistic ribbon border designs to add interest. The texture of the walls was Marble-coat and again finished with a shaded orange hue. A dado ran along the lower wall levels and together with the front of the balcony was painted pale green. Lay lights were arranged in chevrons to provide defused house-lighting.
The 30′ x 50′ proscenium was impressive, framed with a beveled ribbing effect of black and red, this easily accommodated a screen that measured 30′ x 27′. It was claimed that this was Liverpool’s largest screen at that time. Footlights and overhead battens provided stage lighting. The well equipped projection department had British Talking Picture sound equipment and Kalee 8 projectors with a projection throw of 130′ to the screen. Like most cinemas, the stage was deep enough (12′), to provided occasional “live on stage” performances.
The Granada Cinema Ltd opened Liverpool’s latest super-cinema on 24th December 1932 at 2.30pm, with Alderman Edwin Thompson JP declaring the building opening.
The General Manager was W. Speakman, formerly of the Capitol, Edge Hill.
The opening British feature film shown was “The Rosary” starring Margot Grahame and Walter Piers.
With little competition, the Granada’s enjoyed excellent business. So much so that in 1935 it attracted the attention of the ABC circuit, and was taken over. The company then put it on booking par with their ABC cinema in Tuebrook.
Continuous performances were maintained with double feature programmes throughout the 30s, 40s and early 1950s. When CinemaScope came to the ABC Granada on 20th December 1954, the new format was shown off to it’s full extent with the generous width of the proscenium. The first CinemaScope shown was “The Command” starring Guy Madison. This new innovation did not halt the steep decline in admissions that many suburban cinemas were experiencing in the 1950s. Eventually the days of continuous running finished and replaced with evenings only and three matinees/evenings each week.
ABC closed the building as a cinema on 30th September 1961 with the final film shown~ “Gold of the Seven Saints” starring Clint Walker. It was re-opened soon afterwards as a Granada Bingo Club, then later as a Mecca Bingo Club. This closed in 1994.