Plaza Cinema, Crosby, Liverpool.



Plaza Cinema

13 Crosby Road North,

Liverpool, L22 0LD


Owners:  Crosby Entertainments Ltd.  M.D.- Philip M Hanmer.

Architect:  Lionel A.G. Prichard.

Building Contractors:   Ernest Spencer and Co Ltd from Aintree.

First General Manager:  William Gandy.

Seating Capacity: 1450.

John Compton 3Manual/5Rank installed with illuminated console..

First Resident Organist:   George Dawson.

Officially Opened by:  Alderman Herbert Williams J.P.

Date opened:  Saturday 2nd September 1939.

Opening film:  ‘South Riding’ starring Ralph Richardson and Edna Best.

Acquired by Odeon Theatres Ltd:  1943.  

Acquired by Classic Cinemas Ltd:  10th December 1967. (later taken over by Cannon Cinemas in May 1983).

Acquired by:  Apollo Leisure Ltd. in March 1990.

Temporary Closure:  7th November 1996.

Acquired and re-opened by:  Plaza Community Cinema on Friday 18th July 1997.

Building Extant:  Cinema exhibition continues.



The Plaza cinema, Crosby, Liverpool has successfully survived a few non-on-screen dramas of its own, having bordered on closure on more than one occasion and had several name changes. It has gone full circle and now has its original name back.

The Plaza, seating 1450, designed by Lionel Prichard, opened its doors on the 2nd September 1939, and probably is the only cinema to open and close on the same day due to war restrictions.

Construction underway.

Building work was carried out by Ernest Spencer and Co Ltd from Aintree. There were two spacious staircases leading to the balcony, which did not project more than a few feet over the rear stalls. Most of the material for building the cinema was supplied by Ferguson and Harvey from Liverpool. Thistle acoustic plaster was used to ensure perfect sound in the auditorium. The plaster was the product of the British Plaster Board Ltd from Wallasey.
Steelwork was supplied by Liverpool firm Hughes and Ellison. The high-class woodwork was executed by Grayson, Rollo and Clover Docks Ltd from Liverpool. Stonework was carried out by the Northern Cement Construction Co Ltd from Aintree.

Decoration in the auditorium was described as simple but dignified. The colour scheme was in red petunia and gold. There was a large screen. The stage draperies consisted of an elaborate proscenium curtain in gold and petunia satin and a screen curtain of silver satin. They were illuminated by foot and top batten lights of four colours.

The carpets were designed to harmonise with the general colour scheme and the electric lighting throughout was the concealed type, which gave a soft glow rather than a harsh bright light. The main entrance hall and balcony foyer floors and stairways were covered with red and gold Terrazzo to tone with the general decorative scheme.

It was opened by the Mayor of Crosby Herbert Williams. The opening attractions were ‘Plaza News’, ‘Farmyard Symphony’ and the feature ‘South Riding’ starring Ralph Richardson and Edna Best. The programme commenced at 8.30pm.

The cinema re-opened on Monday 18th September when ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ was screened.


A Compton organ was installed and remains today. George Dawson played on the opening night.


The Plaza was first run by Crosby Entertainments Ltd. The managing director was Philip M Hanmer. He ran several cinemas in the Liverpool area under Regent Enterprises. He ran the Grand, Frodsham and the Tivoli Buckley under Byrom Picture Houses until their closure in 1961.
The name Plaza remained until Odeon took over, running it from 1943-1967. Classic took control in 1967 before they exited in 1979. They decided to turn it into a three-screen cinema in 1976.
Classic’s conversion into three screens didn’t involve any destruction. Screen one uses the balcony and stalls area. Seating from 1939 are still used in the balcony area. The stalls seating is modern with the cinema’s name written on them. The other two screens are in the stalls area, one on each side.

The entrance to the 3 screen Classic Cinema, Crosby.

Next to run it were Cannon. They were in charge until 1988. Apollo was next keeping it from 1988-1996.
The cinema then closed for a short while until enthusiastic volunteers took over and it once again became the Plaza. The opening attraction was ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’. This was shown on Friday 18th July 1997.
In May 1998 it was decided to give over one of its screens to non-commercial and independently produced films. Volunteer Jan Dunn said, its third screen, with more than seventy seats would be given over to art house films, rotated on a weekly basis.
Over the years projection equipment has changed several times. It opened with Kalee 12 projectors, followed by Kalee 21, installed by Odeon. The two small cinemas were equipped with Westar. For a short time, Philips FP 20 machines were installed in the large cinema. In 2014 it was digital only in the small cinemas, employing 2K NEC projectors installed by Bell Theatre Services. The equipment in number one in 2014 consisted of a 4K NEC projector and a Century 35mm machine with a tower system, installed by Jed Atherton. The chief operator in 2014 was Joe Strain, who had been there since it became the Plaza again.

On Saturday 6th September 2014 the cinema was seventy-five years old. For the grand occasion they ran the 1939 film ‘Gone with the Wind’. This was a digital copy. Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE was in attendance. He was Patron of the cinema and had helped them obtain their first screening back in 1997.
Jan Dunn, chair of the Plaza cinema said, “I became interested because it was the last cinema in the area and I wanted to have a local cinema to go to. I have been here for nineteen years and I am very proud of what we have achieved.”

The late Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE

Click on the above picture to read our tribute to Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE 


Click on the above frame to see the achievements of the present Plaza Crosby.


David A Elliscopyright