Llandudno, LL30 2DF
Opened: 25th March 1935
Closed: October 1986
Capacity: 1883 seats.. single screen
Architects: Arthur S. Hewitt
A local coach operator Zack Brierley commissioned the Llandudno architect Arthur S. Hewitt to design this magnificent building. The Winter Gardens cinema/theatre opened on 25th March 1935. A Christie 3Manual/8Rank organ was installed.
Singer and Britsh film star- Gracie Fields gave a live telephone message of good wishes which was relayed to the audience through the speaker system at the opening event.
The underwhelming dull exterior gave way to a overwhelming Art Deco interior. Seating was provided for 1,074 in the stalls and 809 in the balcony. The proscenium was 40 feet wide, the stage 30 feet deep and there were 14 dressing rooms. The cinema boasted a cafe.
Running into financial difficulties after just 18 months of operation, Zack Brierley sold the building to Oscar Deutsch, owner of the Odeon Cinemas Ltd. He renamed the cinema as Odeon during 1943, while the ballroom continued under the Winter Gardens name.
The Beatles appeared on stage for six days from Monday 12th August 1963.
Owners of the Odeon, the Rank Organisation, sold the building to the independent Hutchinson circuit on 13th October 1969 and it was re-named the Astra cinema.
Hutchinson quickly introduced a Summer only opening (Llandudno being a seaside town) during the early 1970s.
The Astra Cinema closed in October 1986 and in 1988 the Christie organ was removed from the building into storage for possible preservation. Whilst in storage the instrument was destroyed. The building was demolished in the late 1980s.