Granby – Granby Street

The building in 1909 was a billiard hall until it was announced it would be converted into a cinema.

A license was granted on 27th September 1912 and opened the proprietors, Granby Cinema Ltd, opened their doors on 2nd October the same year. Seating was for an audience of 400 patrons and was considered a small cinema with good attendances.

It was taken over by the Regent Enterprise Ltd the end of 1931, who drew up plans for reconstruction that increased the seating to 600 with the addition of a balcony.

The Granby/Prince Cinema was open for nearly 53 years, even surviving for a year after the impressive Rialto Cinema was erected close by.

The final performance was on 27th February 1965 showing a double feature programme, Ladies’ Man starring, Jerry Lewis, also Conquest of Space.

Having since been converted into shops.


“I remember seeing King Kong at the Granby. We had a lot of fun back in those days, they were lovely times”

We went to the Granby, The Jamie, The Rialto, The Warick, we walked everywhere
because we never had the bus fare.


“Before going blind, as a kid I used to go to Granby to watch The Lone Ranger and then go the shops and buy a bottle of lemonade”


“Granby, Warwick, St James, and Rialto were are local cinemas, we had great times and a lot of happy memories” – (John Archer)

Take a look at the Flickr album;

Cinemas - Toxteth - Granby


Rialto – Upper Parliament Street

The estimated cost for the Rialto, it’s cafes, 12 first class ground floor shops and the site was £57,000.

With a population of 40,000 in a mile radius and one mile from the city centre, this was an ideal venture. Designed by Liverpool architects Grey and Evens of North John Street it  was built as a leisure complex that included a large ballroom, a cinema/theatre, a billiard hall, large cafes and shops, the very first of it’s kind in Liverpool, and considered the finest in all of the UK, the Rialto proved a great success.

The grand opening of the Rialto was on 27th October 1927 at 6.00pm with the Lord Mayor of Liverpool as patronage with the entire proceeds donated to the Lord Mayors hospital appeal fund.

The large auditorium had seating for an audience of 1,200 in the stalls and a further 500 in the balcony.  On entry the auditorium had the effect of a huge apartment draped in cloth of gold, the stage was 18′ deep giving enough space for a whole orchestra plus adequate dressing rooms.

Moving up the stairways from the foyer to the first floor, you entered the splendid ballroom which was set against scenes of Venice in order to provide a different setting for each dance and provided enough space for 500 couples to dance on a special sprung floor that glistened like a nut-brown lake.

The cafe was situated on the same floor, was large enough for 60 tables with a decorative theme and carpet to give an old-world carpet effect.

The Rialto was independently owned for a short time until acquired by GTC in March 1928.

The first film with sound at the Rialto began 4th February 1929 with The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson, however the audience were first entertained  by the Rialto Dance Band, with a jazz prologue followed by Nora Delanya a popular male impersonator.  With the arrival of the talkies most cine-variety ceased, however the orchestra continued for a few months at the performances.

A Compton organ was installed in January 1930 this was a regular attraction with the interludes.

CinemaScope was installed on 25th February 1955 with a performance of Sign Of The Pagan, starring Jeff Chandler.

The Rialto was very well attended considering it was out of the city centre and even and even in the declining years of the 1950’s.  This cinema was one of the few to show 3D films, however this proved to be a temporary novelty.

In the 1960’s the cinema became unviable surviving for just a few more years, with the final programme on 29th February 1964 showing The Thrill Of It All, starring Doris Day.  The building was taken over by Swainbanks Ltd for use to store antique furniture and then in 1980 was damaged during the riots and so demolished shortly afterward.


“We used to go to the Saturday matinee and sometimes they’d have yo-yo competitions, you could win a bike”


“When it was your birthday you went into the cinema through a special door”

“We went to all the picture houses but I can remember a time at the Rialto”


“In those days you couldn’t tell your parents that you had a boyfriend so you’d go to the pictures with them and date there”


“My dad used to make and sell nut brittle outside the Rialto, I wrote a poem with this included”

Take a look at the Flickr album;

Cinemas - Toxteth - Rialto

St James Picturedrome Cinema

This cinema was known as the ‘Jamie‘ to local patrons.

A purpose built cinema with 870 seats and a frontage similar to the Kensington Picturedrome.

The first cinematograph license was granted to the St James Picturedrome Co Ltd on 6th March 1914, this is the only indication of the opening date.

Silent pictures were accompanied by a small orchestra. Three years before the ‘talkies’ arrived the manager, WH Lennon had sucessfully applied for a singing and dancing license which permitted four variety acts per performance.

A gaily-coloured, well lit stage was constructed, together with a dressing room.

The cinema was advertised as ‘The Hub of the North’ Live entertainment was accompanied by a small band that supported the films on Thursdays and Fridays from October 1927.

Admission prices were 4d,6d and 1/- with reductions to two and a half pence, 4d and 6d at the matinees.

With the opening of the Rialto Cinema, Theatre and Ballroom in 1927, this gave strong competition for the St James Picturdrome.

The arrival of the ‘talkies’ was on 9th June 1930, opening with Gloria Swanson in The Trespasser, which, as most cinemas ended variety entertainment.

Admissions were 3d – 9d, with a matinee daily at 3pm and continuous performance from 6.30pm.

Having survived the bombings during the war in the early 1940’s, it was modernised during the 1950’s which completely changed the look of the cinema.  The central dome and the old glass verandah disappeared, this was replaced with a plain modern one.

The St James closed on 5th March 1960, with a double feature: The Mating Game, staring Tony Randall and Debbie Reynolds and Frontier Rangers.

The building was later demolished due to a new road system.


Take a look at the Flickr album; 

Cinemas - Dingle - St James Picturedrome


Warwick – Windsor Street

The Warwick is one of many small suburban cinema halls.  There are no precise details as to when it opened, however the first reference of it’s existence is in 1911 when a license was applied for by Mr Leitch.

It was owned by a family named Wilkinson although they were funeral directors it was a cinema for most of the years and changed hands in the 1950’s.

The audience capacity was 437 including the balcony.

An unfortunate incident happened at the Warwick Cinema in October 1955, during a performance the ceiling collapsed leaving a 60sq. ft hole and injuring several of the audience. The cinema was repaired and once again running programmes for a further 3 years, until closure in November 1958.


“I came home from school, I was only in the infants and I found my mum in the cinema watching the Beast with Five Fingers”

Take a look at the Flickr album;

Cinemas - Toxteth - Warwick Picturedrome


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