Princess Cinema, Kirkdale, Liverpool.

Princess Cinema, Kirkdale.

Selwyn Street,

Liverpool, L4


Original owners:  Princess (Kirkdale) Liverpool Ltd,

Architect:  G Stanley Lewis.

Stadium seating capacity: 1460.

Date opened: Monday 11th May 1931.

First film shown:  ‘Loose Ends’, starring Edna Best, Owen Nares.

First film shown in CinemaScope:  Monday 4th April 1955. “Rose Marie” starring Ann Blyth and Howard Keel.

Acquired by the Essoldo circuit during 1958.

Date closed as a cinema:  Saturday 22nd October 1966.

Final film shown:  ‘Our Man Flint’ starring James Coburn and Lee J. Cobb.

Demolished:  24th July 2016.




Independently owned by Princess (Kirkdale) Liverpool Ltd, this cinema occupied a triangular site on the corner of Selwyn Street and Brewster Street in the Kirkdale district of North Liverpool. Designed by architect G Stanley Lewis, this 1460 seat super cinema was of a  modest proportion.


There were main entrances on both Selwyn Street and Brewster Street frontages that led into an entrance foyer. The fan shaped auditorium was of a stadium, single level plan. Towards the rear was a raised stepped area which was referred to as the circle. It accommodated 700 customers with a further 760 seated towards the front or stalls area. Double, “love seats” were fit at the rear section.  Rose coloured upholstery was fit on all the seating, complementing the pastel colours chosen for the ceiling and walls. Dark dado panelling provided a sharp contrast to the lighter shades used on the side walls of the auditorium.

The stadium styled auditorium as viewed from the stage.

A series of raised borders ran the length of the main ceiling towards the proscenium, forming five longitude panels. Five circular grill work features placed mid-way between each border added interest to the expanse of the ceiling and covered the ventilation apertures. Cove lighting above the proscenium and at the rear of the auditorium with hidden lamps with reflectors fitted to concentrated illumination towards the ceiling.

Photographed from the circle that did not extend over the stalls seats.

As the stage end was at the narrowest point of the wedge shape site, the proscenium was small, measuring just 28’, it was framed with an illuminated border. The house tabs (curtains) were illuminated by an overhead batten and footlights, each with three circuits of colour.

The cinema opened on Monday 11th May 1931, showing ‘Loose Ends’, starring Edna Best, Owen Nares, to a capacity audience.

The Princess enjoyed reasonable business throughout the 1930s and into the heyday of cinema in the 1940s. The decline in admissions began at the close of this decade. Management decided to operate restricted opening hours from the early 1950s, which meant that matinee shows were only on certain days of the week.

CinemaScope was installed to entice patrons back. The first film shown in this new format  was “Rose Marie” starring Ann Blyth and Howard Keel, opening on Monday 4th April 1955. 

However, the restriction on the width of the screen meant that it remained unchanged, with the top screen masking required to be lowered to form the correct ratio for the CinemaScope picture, resulting in a smaller sized screen.


The Brewster Street elevation of the Princess Cinema.

The Newcastle upon Tyne based circuit, Essoldo, took control of the cinema during 1958. With the introduction of restricted performances, the business decline even further, bringing closure on Saturday 22nd October 1966. The final film shown was ‘Our Man Flint’ starring James Coburn and Lee J. Cobb.

For the next 34 years the building was used for bingo, known as the Princess Bingo Hall, eventually closing for good in 2000. It lay derelict until it was demolished on 24th July 2016.

Liverpool City Council’s planning committee gave the green light to JCC Developments Ltd.’s proposals for a ground floor commercial space together with a mix of studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom properties, along with associated parking, landscaping and ancillary works.