The Mayfair Cinema opened on 18th September 1937 with 500 invitations going out and with the special guests receiving afternoon tea and souvenir programmes.
A grand opening for the public was two days later on the 20th September 1937, lthough the Granada Cinema was just 2 miles away, Huyton at the time had a growing population of 25,000.
It cost £25,000 and designed with striking features. The seating capacity was for 1,009 patrons, 676 seats for the stalls and 333 in the balcony, all seating was covered in the rose-coloured velvet.
The balcony was designed differently in the Mayfair Cinema than other cinemas the designers had worked on, it did not extend over the rear stalls purposely to avoid the depressing atmosphere that was generally felt beneath a low ceiling and also to achieve better ventilation.
The decor was simple whilst attractive, the main attraction being the proscenium, draperies in gold satin with Rose du Barrie and screen curtains in silk, lit with a four colour lighting system, which blended and changed automatically.
The projection room was fitted with the latest projectors and sound system. For the operators, street level access was a huge bonus, usually having to carry the heavy film reels to the very top of the building. The operators had control of the lighting which included 25 different colours.
The Mayfair Cinema was known as ‘The Ranch’ as westerns were shown frequently.
Attendances declined during the 1950’s with it’s last performance on 30th April 1960 with the programme I’m Alright Jack starring Ian Carmichael and Peter Sellers.
Built with it’s own spacious car park the Mayfair Cinema was one of the shortest surviving cinemas in Liverpool being open for just 23 years.
Following the closure it was used as a store and then, converted and used by Boots the chemist.
“During the war we used to go to the Mayfair and we’d see Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. If your parents weren’t home, they would leave the key tied to a piece of string, you’d pull it through the letter box and let yourself in” (Townsend Lane)
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Robert Wilkinson of Birkenhead sought permission in 1932 to build a cinema on the Dovecot housing estate. To support his application he stated that with Dovecot being a new place of residence with 1,000 council homes already erected and a further 4,000 to follow, this would be an ideal site to be an outpost for the entertainments industry.
The cinema was designed by the same architect AE Shennan, FRIBA, who also planned the Carlton in Tuebrook, The Granada had some noted similarities mainly the the entrance and the foyer. The design of the building was welcomed by many as a welcome relief from the comparative sameness of the nearby properties.
The cinema was tall with an 80′- wide frontage of sand-faced-brick and illuminated by three large neon signs in orange, red and green. The entrance and foyer had brown floor tiles and lighting by pendant fittings with pale green glass panels.
The auditorium was extensive with 1,210 seats in the stalls and 593 in the balcony. The seats were furnished in green Lister moquette. The balcony lounge was tastefully decorated in stippled Marblcote, finished in orange with broad lines and chevrons in red and black with matching doors and columns. The sofas were large green and with matching tables and chairs.
The auditorium was attractively decorated in green, silver and crimson. The proscenium had an arch 50′ wide by 30′ high and was the largest in Liverpool.
The Granada super-cinema was up-to-date like most modern cinemas and was adaptable for live entertainment, having a 12′ deep stage, with large dressing rooms provided.
Opened as a talkie theatre on Christmas eve 1932, the inaugural ceremony at 2.30pm was performed by Alderman Edwin Thompson JP and an elegant souvenir brochure was produced for the occasion. A special programme for one day only began with a Mickey Mouse cartoon, followed by the Universal Talking News, then Ideal Cinemagazine and Northern Lights the screen version of Courtaulds’s Arctic expedition. The feature film was The Rosary.
Normal performance times were 3pm, 6.40pm and 8.45pm and matinees on a Saturday 3pm. Admission fees for stalls were 5d, 7d and 9d and the circle was 1/- and 1/3. In a favorable position performances were well attended.
From the late 1940’s programmes were mainly double feature including Pathe News with continuous performances throughout the day.
Late 1954 CinemaScope was installed concurrently with the Carlton, and opened on the 20th December with The Command featuring Guy Madison. However despite all of this attendances at the Granada continued to dwindle and reduced the performances to evenings and tree weekly matinees.
On the 30th September 1961 the Granada closed as a cinema showing Gold of the Seven Saints with Clint Walter and White Warrior.
Reopening as a bingo hall shortly afterwards which ran till 1994 and then taken over and rebuilt as a purpose built bingo hall.