The Shipley Picture House Company (later to become Glenroyal Cinema Company) built this showpiece super-cinema, the 1200-seater Glenroyal in a prime position in Briggate. It was the idea of Shack Hyde opening on Monday 5th September 1932. This was to become the flagship of his A.S Hyde Circuit and built at a cost of 25,000 GBP with over seventy percent of the work done by local labour and materials supplied by local tradesmen. The building was designed by the Manchester architect Ernest Dawson, LRIBA, FSI, AMSA, originally from nearby Windhill who also designed and owned the Western Cinema in Park Road, Bradford.
The result was a building of singularly beautiful design yet eminently practical and it still stands in very good condition today. The front elevation is of Rustic Brick and Cream Terra Cotta faience tiling which was illuminated with floodlights. The building bricks and sanitary pipes were made by Wrose Hill Fireclay Co Ltd a mile away in Carr Lane, Windhill with plumbing by Harry Firth of Shipley. The front facade 130 feet long with a wrought iron and glass canopy the full length. This massive frontage also housed five self contained small shop units plus a sweets/tobacco shop to the right of the cinema entrance with access both outside from Briggate and from within the cinema foyer.
As this was 1932 and "talkies" were now well established, the Glenroyal was fitted with the American designed Western Electric Sound System The decision to install this system followed a lengthy investigation in which the Directors visited over sixty cinemas to hear various makes of talkie apparatus under working conditions before making their final commitment.
Western Electric 'wide range' soundboxes were fitted to the latest Kalee (from A. Kershaw & Sons of Leeds) rear shutter projectors fitted with high intensity arcs to ensure a brilliantly illuminated picture. The operating box was, in fact, a suite of rooms for rewind, rectifiers etc. at the rear of the auditorium and high above the balcony and was completely isolated from the rest of the building by a 14-inch thick wall and a separate roof. As the nitrate film material in those days was highly flammable there was always the risk of fire.
The Glenroyal closed as a cinema on Saturday 8th December 1962, and closed as bingo in January 2005.
It looks like the local chav population have made their mark in the old stalls area sometime since closure and whilst I was inside stumbling around in the dark I heard a commotion upstairs (I was in the cellar at this point) it sounded like young lads chucking stuff about, so I went up the stairs to see what was going on. I stood at the top waiting for my moment to take a look. After a minute or so this young lad of about 13 came round the corner and he got a 3 cell maglite beam in his face! He let out the biggest scream I've ever heard! Then him and his mates ran out
The good thing was that they had put the lights on!
Anyway here's the pictures (the projection room will follow in another post, ran out of space with this one!
I took this the next day, and a firm of builders were boarding the place up! looks like I did it just in time!! I'll have another looksie and see what they've done......
These were double tip up seats! Very nice, not seen these before. Reckon they were very popular when trying to get 'close' to your loved one!!!
All picture taken on Fuji 100 Reala colour film.
Last edited by Converse1; October 23rd, 2007 at 10:20.
Reason: Spelling! and extra info