Curzon Theatre / Curzon – Prescot Road, Old Swan
The Curzon was built in 1936 as part of the Bedford Cinemas Ltd’s chain of Merseyside cinemas. The building has been designed by the Liverpool architect Ernest Shennan and constructed by John Lucas & Son Ltd. The building was adorned with neon which drew attention to the contours of the building and was most beautiful when this effect was combined with the lighting inside the large, gently curved tower. The tower contained many patterned lenses which reflected and diffused light.
The auditorium of the Curzon seated 1,750 people. From the gangway down the screen the auditorium floor sloped and was fully carpeted. From the gangway to the back, the auditorium was stepped. On either side of the proscenium were large glass panels where images of well known nursery rhymes ad fairy tales were etched. In the orchestra pit was a Compton organ and the organ chamber was housed behind the screen. Up in the projectionist booth were two Kalee projectors and a Western Electric sound system.
The Curzon opened on the 10th of October, 1936 at 2:30pm with the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor RJ Hall in attendance and other guests by invitation only. The first public programme, that evening at 6:15pm and 8:40pm, was made up of GB News’ The World to the World, a Walt DIsney’s Orphan’s Picnic, a performance by organist Lewis Oddy, and finally the feature presentation, the MGM picture The Unguarded Hour.
Admission for the Curzon were 6d, 9d, 1/-, and 1/3 in the evenings and 4d, 6d, and 9d in the afternoons.
The Curzon was one of the only cinemas in Merseyside to feature 3d, beginning in 1953, and screened the famous 3D film House of Wax. The novelty did not last long though and just under a year later 3D was replaced with CinemaScope and magnetic stereoscopic sound.
The cinema lasted until 1960 and the building was re-purposed as a row of shops and the upper section of the front of the building has remained mostly unchanged.
“I went to the Curzon, we’d go in the cheapest seat 1/9-. It was 1/- for an ice-cream in the interval. Cinemas all over the place during the war. We went to the ones in Huyton, the Mayfair, it was nice”. (townsend lane)
“I saw and X Rated film here called the Blob and we thought thought we were real hard”
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