Liverpool, L13 5UR
Date opened: January 1913.
Original owners: New Premier Picture House Ltd.
Seating capacity: 900.
Opening film shown: Unknown.
Final film shown: “The Young Invaders” starring James Garner.
Date Closed: 6th June 1959.
A cinematograph licence was granted to the New Premier Picture House Ltd on 31st December 1912 which enabled the proprietors to open the first purpose built cinema in the Old Swan district of Liverpool, naming it the New Premier Picturedrome, in January 1913.
The auditorium was oblong on a single level (stadium) with no balcony. A wooden dado wrapped around the lower walls, interrupted by pilasters that were topped off with carved cornices. Above the dado boarding were decorated plaster-work panels.
Originally variety acts complemented the film programme. The stage was a mere 10′ in depth, with a provision of two dressing rooms for the artists.
The name changed to the New Premier Picture House during 1919. Western Electric sound was installed in 1929. The cinema was one of the first in the Liverpool suburbs to introduce sound, opening on 19th August with “The Doctor’s Secret”, starring Ruth Chatterton and John Loder. To cope with the surge in admissions when the first film was shown, three separate performances were required at 2.30pm, 6.30pm, and 8.30pm, with admission prices kept to a moderate level, ranging between 6d & 1/-, with bookable tickets being offered for 1/6.
The cinema was now known as the New Premier, to locals it was affectionately referred to as “the Prem”. During the 1930s the cinema enjoyed brisk business and was well supported. The proprietors had taken control of the Clubmoor cinema in 1925 and often both cinemas booked films in that ran concurrently. However, the ongoing competition from new “super” cinemas opening up nearby, eventually began to starve the New Premier of the latest releases, forcing it to show films way after the new cinemas had run the business out of them leading to the inevitable fall in admissions.
Throughout the 1940s the management beavered away in a vain attempt to draw the large audiences back. Many loyal customers continued to support “the Prem”. A revamp in the early 1950s took place to modernize the facade. Black faience tiles provided a sharp contrast to the plain white decoration on the front of the building. The cinema name was picked out at high level, and a small, slender modern canopy was fit over the entrance doors. Inside a new screen was installed for CinemaScope. Rival cinemas had installed the new wide screen CinemaScope much earlier. The New Premier showed it’s first film in the new format on 15th September 1955, “Rough Company” starring Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G Robinson.
The struggle for customers continued for another four years. The New Premier cinema closed on 6th June 1959. The final film shown was “The Young Invaders” starring James Garner. The supporting feature was “Black Patch” starring George Montgomery.
The building was then used as a retail premises for a music business, and later as a public house. The name Premier was used by these new businesses.