Hull, HU9 1EA
Date opened: Tuesday the 17th April 1928.
Date Closed: Thursday 8th May 1941.
Architect: J.F. Wharf for Freeman, Son and Gaskell.
Seating Capacity: 1600
Hull was home to a number of cinemas, including the Dorchester. The Ritz on Holderness Road, referred to as Hull’s most up to date super cinema, was opened on Tuesday the 17th April 1928. It started life as the Picturedrome, which opened on the 7th September 1912, seating 400. It was later upgraded and had seating for 600. In 1928 it was decided to make it larger and it was turned into a 1,600 seat hall. The front of the building remained unaltered; it was the interior that was changed. In an article on the opening, it states the design of the new look was the work of a Mr J.F. Wharf for Hull architects Freeman, Son and Gaskell. Some sources say it was carried out by Blackmore and Sykes, who designed the Dorchester.
The neo Greek decorative plaster-work was carried out by WJ Wilson and Son of Mansfield. The general brick and plaster-work was done by another Hull firm C Greenwood and Son. Owners were Sherburn Picture Hall Ltd and the managing director was a Mr R W Wheeldon. Seating was all tip up, upholstered in old gold velvet. The tabs were in peacock blue and could be observed going slowly through their range of colour changes to the accompaniment of the orchestra.
Extension work was carried out by Hull builders Greenwood and Sons Ltd. The opening took place at 2.30 pm and it was performed by the mayor Alderman H Dean JP. Admittance was by ticket only, and the public’s first look inside was at 5.45pm when they were treated to the film ‘Barbed Wire’.
The cinema was equipped with a three manual Wurlitzer organ, which was played on the opening evening by J Tulloch McDougall. The instrument was invented by a Liverpool man named Hope Jones. Also entertaining the first night audience was vocalist Phyllis Hutchinson of the BBC and Kingsway Theatre London.
Lighting was provided by Holophane Duo Phantom system. Projection was the rear projection type, which was a little confusing for the operator, seeing the picture back to front and having to look for the changeover cue on their left, instead of their right. Also, film in the projector had to be the other way round in the picture gate. The projectors were the Kalee 8 type, which came on the market in the April of 1928 and were supplied by Kershaw’s of Albion Street, Leeds. The arc lamps were also Kalee.
The Ritz was the first to employ rear projection in Hull. It became a victim of the 2nd World war and was destroyed by a German land mine On the 8th May 1941.
In 2012 a post office occupied the site.
David A Ellis©chestercinemas.co.uk