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Previous Names: Victoria Music Hall, People's Music Hall, Theatre Royal, Imperial Picture Palace
In Hanley, in the Staffordshire Potteries, in 1861, Mr T. Rogers and Mr J. Warrilow erected a wooden hall, mainly for use by circuses. This had become the Victoria Music Hall by 1866, and the People’s Music Hall by 1868.
By 1878 it had become the Theatre Royal, but it was replaced around 1890 by a rather more substantial building: the Imperial Mission Hall.
This had become the Imperial Skating Rink by 1908. After only a short period, the hall was converted into the Imperial Picture Palace, which opened on Thursday 29th August 1912.
In 1914 “The Clarendon Speaking Pictures” were presented - which turned out to be poetry read from the pit to accompany the films!
After an apparently successful life as a silent house, the Imperial Picture Palace closed in 1930. It re-opened on 12th October 1931, after refurbishment, as the Roxy Cinema. It was now under the ownership of Harry Buxton, and had Western Electric(WE) sound installed.
The ‘new’ cinema was opened by 20 year old Dodo Watts, an actress whose career ‘peaked’ at this time. She introduced the comedy “Reducing”, starring Marie Dressler.
CinemaScope arrived on Thursday 13th October 1955 with “The Sign of the Pagan”, starring Jack Palance.
Sadly, the Roxy Cinema closed not long afterwards, on Sunday 3rd December 1961, with “The City that Never Sleeps”, starring Gig Young.
The building became home to Mr Smith’s nightclub. Then, in 1977, a fire destroyed most of it. A warehouse was built on the main part of the site in the 1980’s.
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