St. Helens, WA10 1NN
Original Owner: Savoy Picture Houses (St. Helens & Ashton-in-Makerfield) Ltd.
Architect: George Edward Tonge.
Building Contractors: Frank Haslam Ltd
Seating Capacity: 1515.
Date Opened: Saturday 23rd March 1935.
Taken over by Associated British Cinemas in February 1936.
Converted into a three screen venue: 1978.
Date Closed: Wednesday 15th September 1993.
Known for his super speed and efficiency, the Doncaster contractor Frank Haslem was awarded the contract to construct a new “Super Cinema” on this prominent corner site of Bridge Street that had previously been occupied by the Picturedrome/Savoy Picture House which opened in 1910.
Photographed on 26th November 1934, work is in full progress on St.Helens new “Super Cinema” the Savoy Picture House.
George Edward Tonge, a Southport based architect designed this modernistic building that had a seating capacity of 1515. It also had a café situated on the upper foyer level.
The Savoy Picture House opened on Saturday 23rd March 1935. In less than two years it was bought by John Maxwell’s Associated British Picture Corporation in February 1936 and renamed ABC Savoy. As company policy, in the late 1960s/ early 60s was that all cinemas became simply ABC, However, in St.Helens the company owned the Capitol. Both cinemas retained their second name (Savoy & Capitol) until the closure of the Capitol in 1978 when the Savoy was re-branded ABC.
Work started on the building in 1978 to convert the building from a single screen cinema to a three screen operation. On Thursday 14th December the doors opened on the new venture. The largest auditorium was situated in the former balcony and seated 494 patrons with two smaller screens holding 284 and 179 seats in the original stalls area.
It became a Cannon cinema when the group acquired ABC/EMI. The cinema closed on Wednesday 15th September 1993 and was demolished.
I worked as a relief projectionist back in the late 50s, lovely working atmosphere, they were the days when you could expect to have five staff in the projection box at one time. I remember the Chief and the other projectionists being fond players of chess. He also had a great sense of humour.
Another lovely cinema that went the same way as lots of others, so sad.
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