Climax Cinema Club
Bristol Street and Wrentham Street,
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Previous Names: Electric Picture House, Bristol Street Picture House, Broadway Cinema, Cinephone, Gala Cinema
Originally opened in 1913 as the Electric Picture House, it was located on Bristol Street on the corner of Wrentham Street. Within a year of opening, it had changed its name to the Bristol Street Picture House. It was owned by the Hewitson’s of Smethwick. In 1923, it was demolished and a new cinema was built to the plans of architect Horace G. Bradley, known as the Broadway Cinema. It was owned by the Victoria Playhouse Group who also owned the Era Cinema, Bordsley Green and the Warwick Cinema, Acocks Green.
In 1956 all three cinemas were sold at auction to the Rogers family, but a week later the Broadway Cinema was purchased by the Jacey Cinemas chain. The Broadway Cinema was remodelled to the plans of architect H. Werner Rosenthal, and re-opened on 26th April 1956 as the Cinephone Cinema with Martine Carol in “Nana”, and Martin Carol attended ‘in person’. Style was Modern Continental, with 880 seats in stalls and circle. There was a Continental style coffee/snack bar. The Jacey Cinemas chain also owned the News Theatre and the Tatler Cinemas in Birmingham.
It was later taken over by the Gala Cinemas chain in September 1977 and was re-named Gala Cinema. This was later closed and tripled with the three screens seating 600. It re-opened 3rd December 1980 as the Climax Cinema Club which screened uncensored sex films up until 1984. It was afterward demolished, with a car showroom built on the site. By 2021 the site had been cleared to build housing on an extended site.
I was second operator there in 1959-60. Projection equipment was two BTH Super MK2’s, using Xenon arcs with all lighting controls motorised.
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