Rink Cinema

Heald Street,
Liverpool, L19 2LY

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Additional Info

Architects: T. Townson

Previous Names: Garston Picturedrome, Winter Gardens

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With the roller skating craze at its height, the Garston Skating Rink Company was formed for the purpose of erecting a suitable building in Heald Street. The City Building Surveyor approved the plans of local architect T. Townson on 19th October 1909, but there were delays in construction, and in obtaining a music and other entertainments licence, so the skating rink didn’t open until around late-May 1910.

By that time the skating craze was already waning, and owner George Atkin successfully applied for a Cinematograph Licence. That was granted in September 1910, and the Garston Picturedrome, with a stadium-style auditorium with 586 seats, opened shortly thereafter.

In May 1912 alterations were carried out which increased the seating capacity to 886. At this time the Picturedrome became the Rink Cinema.

Despite the apparent optimism shown by these alterations, the Cinematograph Licence was not renewed when it expired on 31st October 1923 and the cinema closed.

However, the building continued to be used for leisure activities, such as dancing and singing, and from December 1923 it was known as the Winter Gardens.

In 1943 it closed, and was used as an ARP depot. Retaining the name Winter Gardens, it re-opened for dancing in October 1950, closing in November 1966. It was converted into a discount store, the Garston and District Co-op Society. It later became a Government YTS centre, then home to furniture manufacturers. It is believed that flats now occupy the site.

Contributed by David Simpson
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