County Cinema

Newport Road,
Cardiff, CF24

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Jackson Withers Circuits, Splott (Cardiff) Cinema Co. Ltd.

Architects: William S. Wort

Styles: Art Deco

Nearby Theaters

County Cinema

The County Cinema occupied a corner site on the main Cardiff to Newport Road in the Llanrumney area of the city. It opened on 26th December 1939 and was operated by the Rumeley Cinema Co. a subsidiary of Splott Cinemas.

Later operated by the Jackson Withers circuit, it closed on 8th November 1974, after operating for a short time as a combined cinema and bingo club. Plans were proposed to convert the building into a snooker club, but then came to nothing and the building deteriorated. It eventually became a DIY store and after this closed it was demolished in August 1986. Housing was built on the site.

Contributed by Editha Pearce, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

geoffjc on April 10, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Architect William S Wort, plans survive. Can you confirm the Bingo/DIY details?

geoffjc on April 10, 2009 at 1:23 pm

This was author Gary Wharton’s local cinema (Ribbon of Dreams- Remembering Cardiff Cinemas). He does not refer to Bingo or DIY, stating that it remained closed, and mentions local attempts to re-open it.
This correspondent travelled past the County every day for over twenty years and has no recollection of it being a DIY store, as he would have certainly called in to examine the remains of the County!
The last film, incidentally, was “Gold”, the poster remained on the hoarding for weeks after closure.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm

The Bingo/DIY details come from Brian Hornsey’s booklet ‘Ninety Years of Cinema in Cardiff’ published in June 1994.

edithapearce on April 10, 2009 at 10:51 pm

I did relief work at this cinema several times circa 1962. It was a well designed cinema with a very comfortable operating box.Unlike many of the older Withers halls it was possible to continuously operate with all the viewing and screening ports open as the positioning of the box meant that the interior box lighting did not shine down on the patrons below. In many halls this was not possible and once a changeover had been achieved only the viewing port of the running machine was left open or more often 50% shut.The alternative being to switch most of the box lighting off leaving only a dim pilot light on between reels.

edithapearce on April 10, 2009 at 11:12 pm

This was a well patronised cinema circa 1962 so it was not hit by the 1961 bingo revolution.Unusually for a Withers lesser hall, it had a staff that included a manager and an assistant manageress. Most 2nd tier halls in the Jackson Withers circuit only had a manager.This assistant manager (Miss Studley) was well respected by all of the circuit staff and frequently appeared at other local Withers halls as a relief manager covering for the regular manager’s night off. I can remember her being at the Regent and the Ninian. The lady was always immaculately dressed with noticeably smart hair styles.When doing relief work she always stood along side the pay box and made a point of personally welcoming patrons.

geoffjc on April 12, 2009 at 2:25 am

Press reports at the time of closure indicate that the County closed a day earlier than announced as the owner feared a “sit-in” by a group campaigning to keep it open.
Films were shown 7 days a week, the Council had reportedly rejected an application for a Bingo licence.

Capelmawr on July 26, 2011 at 9:50 am

The figure of 1050 seats applied only pre- the 1960’s, and in 1951 prices were 1/6d to 3/–. Programmes were coninuous from 4.00pm on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. By 1966 seating had been reduced to 1021 seats.

bbq1 on January 5, 2015 at 10:16 pm

As a projectionist at the County in the 50s?70sI remember the manager (Uncle) Arthur Lyle and his side kick(assistant) Doris Studley. Many times running down from box to his office. Another memory was the sharing of the news reel with the Splott Cinema , twice daily and 3 times on a Saturday , originally using a heavy (butchers) bike, Go like the wind down Rumney hill but a slog getting back up it (especially in the rain)Eventually got my own bike which was a lot lighter and even had a Sturmy Archer 3 speed gear, wonders of wonders!!!Did a lot of relief work in the later years at the Plaza and Monico. Have now resided in West Australia the last 40 years and even here was projectionist(part time) at the 2 drive-ins and walk-in theatres until their closure.

bbq1 on January 5, 2015 at 10:32 pm

I notice that the photo shown shows the window at the top(part of the box, Rectifier/battery room) is filled with a wood panel, due to the glass that fell out one day and shattered on the canopy below!!this was put in when I worked there by the then chief Mr Windsor Smith. and renewed as the rain etc made it impossible to not do so over time ,and was still in place when the building was eventually demolished.) the glass was never replaced(Previous Chief that I knew was Mr Les Youdal and 2nd was Mr John Lewis ,with occasional swaps with another named Ken ??? (can’t remember) who was an Indian M/bike owner,lived out at Ely and worked at the Avenue.

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