History of the Cinema
Further Information and History for The Royalty Cinema
The Royalty was built in 1926 by public subscription and opened as the Public Hall. This name and the date appear in a plaque at the top of the front gable. It was designed at the outset to provide cinema, theatre and dance facilities. The projection box was equipped with Erneman projectors, suitable only for silent pictures in those days.
The stage had a depth of 24 feet and a proscenium opening of 30 feet. There was no fly-tower but there were ample dressing rooms including four in an abutment to the right hand side of the building plus the basement which was the same width and depth as the stage.
The stalls floor was of maple, completely flat and with seats battened in groups of three or four which enabled them to be moved into the basement when dances were held. Cloakroom toilets were provided at the first floor, either side of the balcony lounge, with ordinary toilets on the ground floor.
The Public Hall was opened in March 1927 by H. L. Groves, Chairman of Windermere Council, and the first performance featured the film "The Wanderer" and an appearance by Billy Barnes, the broadcasting entertainer.
The building was controlled initially by the Windermere Public Hall and Cinema Ltd, which comprised of a group of local businessmen. In about 1930 it was renamed the Royalty and came under the control of Windermere and Ambleside Cinemas Ltd, which operated the Windermere cinema, the Supreme,Old Colwyn and previously the Assembly Rooms, Ambleside. The managing director, Leonard H Clegg, had been a Liverpool architect and had designed the Lighthouse Pavilion, Hoylake and a cinema in Runcorn.
After Mr Clegg's death in 1952 the cinema was leased to Ronald Cowpe who retired in 1974, passing control over to John Bailey. Mr Bailey died in 1991 and the Council operated the cinema for a year until granting the lease to Charles Morris in June 1992. In 1995 Mr Morris created a 100 seat cinema on the stage area, which had been unused for some 30 years, with a separate entrance, foyer and toilets being converted from th former dressing rooms.
In 1996 a 65 seat cinema was made out of the circle lounge and former ladies toilet areas, with new toilets being created at the top of the circle stairs. The original foyer and 400 seat auditorium remain structurally unaltered but have been refurbished to include new seats, carpets and decorations. All three auditoria have Dolby Stereo sound.
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