Date opened: Monday 25th November 1912
Date Closed: Friday 7th July 1972
Architect: George L. Alexander
Seating Capacity: 561
JACEY cinemas ran a number of news theatres before switching to features, usually of the continental variety. Some of their halls were named Tatler. The first was in London, followed by Birmingham. They expanded and had news theatres in Manchester and Liverpool. Managing director was a Joseph C. Cohen.
The Liverpool building designed by George L. Alexander for Provincial Cinematograph Theatres (PCT) was built on the site of the Prince of Wales Theatre, which opened in December 1861 with The Maid with the Milking Pail. Ownership and renovation of the theatre took place several times, and in 1870 it was run by Eldred and Fairlie. Mitchell and Kenyon screened The Arrest of Goudie in 1901.
Some sources say the Prince of Wales was demolished to make way for the cinema. Others reports are not clear on this, and give the impression it was a conversion. Does anyone know for sure? The theatre, which was known as The Little House in the Square closed in 1905 and was offered for sale or rental. The PCT cinema called The Liverpool Picture House opened on November 25th 1912, situated in Clayton Square. It is not clear what it was between 1905 and 1912, can anyone enlighten us? In April 1914 PCT re-named it The Prince of Wales Cinema. They operated it until 1923. New owners Savoy cinemas, a subsidiary of ABC, then took over.
Talkies arrived at the cinema On 30th September 1929 with the film The Trial of Mary Duggan. In 1933 it was run by a subsidiary company of ABC called the Regent Circuit. Stanley Grimshaw’s Byrom Picture Houses Ltd took over in 1936. Later, Philip Hamner from Regent Enterprises, (not to be confused with the Regent Circuit) took over Byrom. It is stated in the press that the cinema was sold to Jacey by the Hanmer brothers, but I have only heard of Philip Hanmer. The theatre underwent alteration and seating capacity was reduced.
It opened on the 17th December 1946 as The Liverpool News Theatre. Seating was for 561, originally being 700. Screenings were continuous from 10am to 10.30, the programme lasting 75 minutes. The opening was conducted by the mayor WG Gregson.
The proceeds from the first performance went to the Child Welfare Clothing Fund. At the time of opening it was the largest news theatre in the country. There were now two news theatres in Liverpool, the other being the Tatler in Church Street, which opened on the 19th February 1934 and housed Ross Projectors and Kalee Vulcan arcs.
On the 20th September 1962 It became The Gala International Film Theatre. This was short lived and it went back to Jacey in September 1963, becoming The Jacey Film Theatre. They mainly screened continental films. They sold the magazine Continetal Film Review in the foyer. There was a small area where you could purchase tea and coffee. There was a juke box in this area that ran 16mm film, so you could view the singer.
The cinema, which had the BTH SUPA projection system, closed on the 7th July 1972.
The building then became a church. It was demolished in 1986.
David A Ellis©chestercinemas.co.uk