Picture House/Broadway – Stanley Road

Dating way back to 1909 this building was purpose built as a roller skating rink, however, the idea was short lived and in 1912 it was acquired by The Bootle Picture Palace Ltd. With few alterations, costing £2,000, it was converted into a 1,200 seat auditorium.  This was a plush cinema described as “a feast of art, decoration and luxurious comfort, with upholstered seats of rich red fabrics, walls lined with white fluted columns and panelled plaster work.”

The cinema opened it’s doors 1912 at 3pm on the 25th July to hundreds of invited guests. Seats were priced accordingly, in the grand lounge and at the rear it was 9d and the stalls and pit stalls 6d and 3d

The Picture House closed in 1921 for improvements and the seats changed to the tip-up type.  With a luxurious carpet and a polished mahogany screen placed behind the rear seats it re-opened later in the year and was a huge success showing continuous performances.  The last performance was on 8th May 1941 with the auditorium being destroyed in the may blitz.

The Gaumont Cinema was built on the site and opened on 23rd January 1956.


“Vincent says that the first Al Jolson film had a major impact on his life”

Al jolson story by Vince

“The Jolson story shaped my life even to this day”


You can play each gallery by clicking on Start, and if you want to see the full sized photograph click on it’s title beneath each photograph.

Take a look at the Flickr album;

Cinemas - Bootle - Broadway Cinema (Picture House * Gaumont)


Gainsborough – Knowsley Road

There were 5 cinemas in Bootle, the Gainsbourgh Cinema being the last one to be opened in the area before the outbreak of war in 1939.

This was the artists cinema, firstly, it takes it’s name after Thomas Gainsborough who was one of the most popular artists of the 18th Century. It was designed to impress any visiting artist in structure and aesthetics, the auditorium was blue, reminiscent of the gloriously brilliant colour applied by the artist of the famous picture the Blue Boy.

Seating capacity was 1,300 and had a two sided pay box for speedy admission. It had floor and wall tiles reaching near to the ceiling height and was considered to be the finest cinema in the suburbs, a new cinema with new ideas.

The performances were the best due to the managerial expertise of Walter C Scott.  The cinema also provided a unique musical setting to the best of the worlds films by the orchestra and leader Dr James Lyons.

Saturday 18th May 1922 at 8pm the Gainsborough opened it’s doors, with the proceeds donated to the Mayor of Bootle’s Unemployed Fund. Admission prices then were 6d, 9d 1/- and 1/3  reduced to 4d, 6d, 9d at matinee performances.  Matinees at 2.30pm and evenings 6.30pm and 8.40pm.

ABC Ltd took over in 1930 with good attendances till the 1950’s after this audience numbers were falling due to competition with the other cinemas in the area and some acquiring the more modern equipment.  However in 1955 CinemaScope was installed but still lost it’s audience to the New Gaumont Bootle .

Surviving for another 2 years until finally closing it’s doors as a cinema showing The Bell Boy starring Jerry Lewis and Tarzan And The Magnificent. The building was acquired by Mecca and converted into a Bingo Hall and is now a car show room.


You can play each gallery by clicking on Start, and if you want to see the full sized photograph click on it’s title beneath each photograph.

Take a look at the Flickr album;

Cinemas - Bootle - Gainsborough

Gaumont  * Odeon

The site where the Gaumont was erected is that of the old Broadway Cinema after the auditorium was destroyed in the May blitz 1941.

The cost for a rebuild was a whopping £120,000.  Many attempts were made for permission to rebuild, this was granted years later in 1955.  The construction and build was very different from anything else.  A huge, reinforced, concrete barrel vault was created, the first in the country of this type.  It was windowless, dark and made of rustic brick with the Gaumont neon sign.

It could seat 1,350 patrons and made of the latest type seat, upholstered in rust moquette and fitted with a deep red carpet creating a warm and comfortable atmosphere.

The technical equipment installed was the best, a high definition cinema screen with side masking to accommodate different ratio’s remote controlled from the projection room, and a pair of Kalee 21 projectors, costing £3,000.

This cinema had thermostatically controlled ventilation and heating systems, the latter oil-fired, which were believed to be the only ones of their type in the Liverpool area. Selected seats on both floors had plug-in sockets for the latest type of hearing aid device and there was parking next to the theatre.

1956 the Gaumont opened it’s doors however this was short lived as it’s name changed to the Odeon. This also came to an end in April 1964.  Even by this time the leading cinemas were poorly attended. The last performance was with Shampoo starring, Warren Beater and his sister Shirley MacLaine.

The building was then used as a skate park, then a snooker centre, and in 1996 as a licensed house.


You can play each gallery by clicking on Start, and if you want to see the full sized photograph click on it’s title beneath each photograph.

Take a look at the Flickr album;

Cinemas - Bootle - Gaumont * Odeon


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