28DL Full Member
Explored with @WhoDaresWins
The Broadway first opened its doors in 1938 and seated 1,160 people. It was built as part of the Filwood Broadway development, a housing estate, planned to also include a swimming pool, library and shops.
The auditorium has two levels and a separate entrance and pay box at the rear of the building for the 'lower classes'. The building has been used for concerts and boxing matches over the years and from 1961 onwards it hosted bingo every Saturday that became increasingly popular. The cinema was sold in the late 1980s when it became a full time bingo hall up until it finally closed its doors in 1994.
Its original projectors and a selection of seats can be found in the M-Shed Industrial Museum. (one of the only reasons why I've been to the M-Shed)
I've had my eye on this gem for the few years I've lived in Bristol and its always been sealed tight! However, a few recces in recent months have shed some light in terms of possible access and after a pint or two we finally knocked together a solid(ish) plan!
We proceeded into the night, uncertain of our plans success while trying not to wake the sleepy estate of Knowle West. It was tricky and risky, but our efforts paid off in full!
We soon found ourselves on the stage, looking out onto the main auditorium / bingo hall which was in a sorry state. It became clear that work had been carried out in the building but I am unsure of when and why. Strings of work lights had been set up and there was documentation stating asbestos survey work had been carried out in the building in 2012, it looks like that was the last time anyone had stepped foot in the building.
Despite the work carried out, we were pleased to find many of the original features and décor still in tact.
Original seating in the upper auditorium!
Although the projectors were long gone, one of the stands still remains.
Fags and flat lemonade.. mmmmm
The floor was a bit soft in places..
The flooded basement. It looks like it was used to store kegs.
An electric winch for the curtains to the left of an old stage door and a compression horn driver, no doubt from its early cinema days.
Entrance and ticket booth for the lower classes (us)
Really enjoyed this place, well worth the wait and I can rest easy now its finally ticked off the list!
Thanks for looking!
http://s73.photobucket.com/user/RottingInHell/Explorations/The Broadway Cinema/story