Original Owners: Mold Picture Palace Ltd, Managing Director- John L Schofield.
Architect: Mr Thoms of Southport.
Building Contractors: Meyers of Chester.
Opened: Wednesday 28th July 1926.
Seating Capacity: 550.
Final film shown: “Skyjacked” starring Charlton Heston & Yvette Mimieux.
Closed: December 1972.
The Savoy Picture Palace Cinema’s frontage was on Chester Street in the market town of Mold.
John L Schofield commissioned the building with the intention to have it as a cine-variety venue. In those early days of silent cinema, it was often preferred to have film presentations punctuated with live acts, or musicians who accompanied the action of the silent movie to have their own stage spot. A Southport architect, Mr. Thom, was asked to draw up the plans, and Meyers of Chester were the building contractors.
The foyer floor was pure rubber in French grey and terra cotta. The proscenium width was 30′ and the stage was 18′ in depth. There was provision for three dressing rooms for the artists.
The Savoy was opened by Colonel T H Parry DSO, on Wednesday 28th July 1926. The takings from the first performance went to the Cottage hospital and Nursing Association.
The entrance occupied little more than a single shop’s width and was flanked on either side by small shop units. The aperture of the entrance was faced in a light colour stone with a slender mantle across the doorway above which the Savoy’s neon sign was placed. The entrance doors were recessed well back from the street, in this area display and timetable frames were placed, therefore, despite the lack of a canopy customers had protection from the weather before entering the main building. There were five exits and it was claimed the hall could be emptied in one minute.
The area had an unreliable electricity supply, therefore it was decided that the Savoy would have it’s own back-up generators that would snap into action whenever there was a fear of failure with the supply.
The auditorium was of a stadium plan, without a balcony. There was seating for 550 patrons, a capacity that would be expected in such a rural location.
The End for the Savoy Picture Palace Orchestra.
A British Acoustic sound system was installed in the early 1930s, bringing the cinema up to date with “the talkies”, whilst dispatching the musicians as their services were no longer required.
As a local newspaper reported…..
The changes at the Savoy consequent to the installation of “talkies” will result in the break-up of the orchestra which had for so long delighted the patrons of this popular picture-house. Their final appearance will be on Saturday night next, where they will play together for the last time. A native of Buckley, H.E. Rowlands, the popular leader, is taking up an appointment in Derbyshire, but hopes to return to the musical profession very soon. An accomplished violinist and highly valued in the district, Mr Rowlands has done so much good work for various local charities.
The cinema enjoyed good admissions through the 1930s & 40s, but began to struggle with television competition during the 1950s.
John L Schofield remained MD of the company and together with his relation Elsie Brannan formed a partnership to manage the business together with another interested party, Mr. Mather.
In the projection room Gaumont Kalee 21 projectors had now been installed and the essential introduction of CinemaScope that gave an advantage over the small TV screens that customers had at home gave an additional boost. The new format certainly helped the Savoy to keep it’s head above water.
The cinema had a well attended Savoy Junior Club with members having a lapel badge. However, towards the end of the 1960s, the cinema’s near neighbour, the Post Office had intentions of building an extension to their telephone exchange. They required the land that the Savoy occupied and despite brave efforts by local businessmen to acquire the site with the intention of keeping the cinema the Post Office won the battle.
The Savoy closed in the December of 1972 with the forgettable film “Skyjacked” starring Charlton Heston. Items, such as the display frames from the entrance, were saved from the skips by Roger Shone of Chester. The cinema’s seating and curtaining were divided between cinemas in Wrexham, Flint and Queensferry.
The Savoy cinema was demolished in 1973 and replaced with the new enlarged telephone exchange building.