Whitwick's Plaza Cinema

A new picture theatre which could seat 820 people was opened on Monday, December 18th 1914 on Silver Street, Whitwick. The architect who designed the building was a Mr T I McCarthy from Belvoir Road, Coalville. The cost on completion was £1,550.

Whitwick cinema

Performing artistes like comedy musicians and gymnasts performed there and lodgings were provided for them at The Three Crowns Inn.

A suitable music licence was applied for in 1917 by the manager Richard Kelly.

In 1930 the new manager Mr T H Marks took pleasure in bringing 'The Talkies' films to the picture house.

The cinema was full for the very first films, SYNCOPATION and NO BRAKES.

Shortly before Christmas 1951, the Palace Cinema was sold to Mr Williams of Birmingham. He made several improvements including a new projector, which he had bought second-hand from the Rex Cinema, Coalville, and a much improved heating system. As he owned other cinemas in the Birmingham area he appointed Mr Davis, as Manager of the newly named PLAZA CINEMA, WHITWICK.

Unfortunately, commercial television started in this area about this time and badly affected all cinemas. He tried to combat this by admitting OAPs for 6d (2 ½p) on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

In 1963, he had a new wide screen fitted so that the latest Cinemascope films could be shown. However, the cinema had to be closed for extensive repairs again in 1965, mining subsidence and changes in the safety regulations meant that all exit doors had to be widened.

About this time, Mr Williams took ill and the cinema was sold to Supreme Entertainments Ltd., of Wirksworth, Derbyshire. They re-opened it as a Bingo Hall on 7th September 1965. At first, some films were shown on certain days of the week, using a small portable projector, mounted at the back of the cinema.

It changed hands again and was sold to Thompson Automatics, of Loughborough. They used it as a Bingo Hall. This continued until 1982 when the building was completely gutted by fire, the blaze was started by an electrical fault. Not wanting to lose their Bingo customers a bus was laid on to transport them to the Beacon Bingo Hall at Loughborough.

After the fire the building was demolished and later three houses were built on the site.

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