Astra 1 & 2 Cinemas

Wards End,
Halifax, HX1 2AB

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Gaumont-British-Picture Corp., Ltd., Hutchinson Cinemas, Provincial Cinematograph Theatres Ltd., Rank Organisation

Functions: Nightclub

Styles: Baroque

Previous Names: Picture House, Gaumont Theatre

Nearby Theaters

The Picture House Halifax

The Picture House on Halifax’s popular Wards End opened on 20th October 1913 with Crissie Bell in “A Message from Mars”. It was built for Provincial Cinematograph Theatres(PCT) but was quickly taken over by Associated Provincial Picture Houses (APPH), a division of Gaumont British Theatres.

A fire in 1947 kept it closed for nearly a year and on re-opening it was called the Gaumont. The Gaumont was closed by the Rank Organisation on 26th November 1960 after two weeks of screening Anthony Perkins in “Psycho”. The building remained unused for several years before re-opening as a Top Rank Bingo Club. It was sold to Hutchinson Leisure in 1973, becoming a Surewin Bingo Club. Later Hutchinson Leisure created two small cinemas of 200 seats Astra 1 & 2 in the former balcony, whilst continuing with bingo on the ground floor. These closed on 5th June 1982.

A few years later the entire building was transformed into a nightclub, known as the Coliseum, apparently losing most of the cinema interior in the process. In 2011 it operates as a nightclub known as Liquid.

The former Picture House is a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 18, 2007 at 10:12 am

A vintage photograph of the Gaumont Theatre in September 1949:
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Ian on October 4, 2007 at 5:24 am

Two more exteriors from October 2007 here:

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terry on November 9, 2020 at 5:02 pm

The last film to play at the Gaumont in 1960 was Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ and staff at the ABC told me that on the very last night the queue was round the block.

rivest266 on October 18, 2021 at 1:43 pm

Grand opening ad posted.

Alan Baker
Alan Baker on May 4, 2024 at 1:45 am

When Rank changed its distribution arrangements in 1959 the Gaumont became the National release outlet with the Rank release going to the Odeon. Strangely, Psycho, which was a Rank release, was given to the Gaumont as its final offering, rather than going to the Odeon. During its final summer the Gaumont had a four week roadshow run of South Pacific, advertised as being “in 35mm on the wide screen”, which was a way of saying that it was not in Todd-AO with stereophonic sound (the only cinema in Halifax with stereo was the Theatre Royal, which had been the home of Fox CinemaScope films).

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