Carlton Theatre – Hull

470-476 Anlaby Rd Hull HU3 6SH

Opened on 9th September 1928 with the silent film Lonesome Ladies.

The Carlton Picture Theatre in Anlaby Road was designed by the firm of Blackmore & Sykes and was built by Messrs. Greenwood and Sons.

It was run by Hull Picture Playhouse Ltd.

This was a lavish suburban cinema, with an elaborate green and gold sliding dome utilising Venetian glass and housing hundreds of concealled lights. Roman marble mosaics and painted plaster panels on the walls added to the sense of occasion engendered by a trip to the flicks.

A Fitton & Haley organ was installed, but this was later removed to the more central Cecil Theatre and was destroyed when that theatre was bombed during WW II.

The cinema had two entrances, one in each of the two towers on the front corners of the building. Above the proscenium was the inscription, rather inapt given how soon talkies arrived :

“A Picture is a poem without words”.

There was a single balcony and, for its date, a surprisingly large car park.

It continued unaltered, save for minor war damage, until its closure in April 1967, after which it was simply converted to bingo usage which continued as a Mecca Bingo Club until 2008.

Cinema Treasures

This is an immense and noble building, a once great single screen cinema.

Unluckily closed for some thirteen years, now looking neglected and forlorn.

Tinned up and awaiting an uncertain future, planning was applied for conversion to apartments, it was refused.

It is unlisted and unloved in need of friends and funds, who could operate a cinema and theatre in the manner of The Plaza in my hometown of Stockport.

The interior has been recorded by 28 Days Later.

We all deserve better.

The number of cinemas in Hull peaked at thirty six in 1938.

British film making flourished during the war years and cinema attendances were much higher, but by the end of the Second World War there were only twenty five – several had been bombed.

In 1964 competition from radio and television, and latterly bingo, reduced the number of cinemas to ten.

Now there are four.

Queen Elizabeth Hall – Oldham

Attached to the Civic Centre, developed and opened in 1977, to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, she ain’t no human being, she’s a building.

An low exterior slab of classical municipal modernism, with a series of wonderful and surprising new attachments, ideal for all occasions!

The most amazing set of heavily patinated, square sectioned, inorganic pipes which are precipitously cantilevered  onto the front elevation.


The lobby boasts further exotic lighting, this time on the ceiling, and applied metal reliefs attached to the back wall and booking office.

I’ve never been in the main auditorium, yet – but life is full of little surprises.

Others have – boxers, boozers, bands, concerts, carousers, dancers, thespians – the lot.

The council have a mind to put a stop to all this wayward architecture and replace it something new, shiny and anonymous.


But they’re having to wait for the Men from the Ministry to cough up the cash – which may or may not be tied up in a nearby Northern Powerhouse, Mr Osborne may just have to be lead up the A62 by the nose, with a promise of the most popular Tea Dance in the area.

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I do advise you to go and have a look before you can’t.