Heaton Park Cinema, Bury Old Road, Prestwich
Peter Cummings, 51 King Street, Manchester, is preparing plans for a local syndicate for a cinema having frontages to Bury Old Road and Orange Hill Street, Prestwich. [Builder 30 March 1928 Page 533]
Heaton Park is the latest district to be equipped with a cinema, and possibly because of the contiguity of the city's largest park, the job has been carried out in the grand manner. The new Heaton Park Cinema makes an imposing pile on the main road about 400 yards beyond the station. The architect is Mr Peter Cummings, of 51, King Street, Manchester, a specialist in cinema designs, and the building has been constructed by the Moston Brick and Building Company Limited, of Kenyon Lane, Moston. The outside is red brick with terra cotta dressings, and with the electrically lighted archway it is one of the most handsome pieces of architecture in the neighbourhood.
The first impression of the interior is that of spaciousness. It is broad and lofty, and the seats are at once ample and comfortable. The approximate seating capacity, by the way, is 800 in the main hall and 300 in the balcony. The decorative scheme is simple and effective. Cool grey tiles are set off against the pale mauve of the walls. Here and there a rich red velvet curtain strikes the note of opulence which is echoed in the great lanterns which spread soft light across the building. Draught screens panelled with plate glass are a noticeable feature of the interior, whilst the adequacy of the exits should appeal to those who are nervous of overcrowding.
The lighting installation is admirably contrived and extremely attractive. The soft colouring of the wall brackets give the cosy atmosphere which is essential to the cinema, while the novel effects of the proscenium and orchestra lighting produce an astonishing glow of colouring as a background to the musical interludes. Perhaps the crowning part of the cinema is to be found in the sun-ray effect over the proscenium which illuminates the lofty arch and stage. The stage is, of course, an indispensable feature of the modern cinema, and Heaton Park is adequately equipped for the provision of prologues and variety numbers.
The actual screen is placed on the outer wall, beyond the stage and orchestra, so that it is considerably removed even from the cheapest seats. This is obviously an advantage which cannot be enjoyed in the older cinemas. As an alternative to the orchestra, music will be provided by loudspeakers operated from grilles on either side of the proscenium, and the management promise that “some surprising novelties will emanate from this source for the entertainment of patrons from time to time”.The lay-out of the screen and operating box also provides for the accommodation of talking pictures at a later date.
The commodious entrance hall is panelled in oak and tastefully decorated. There are small tables and chairs for the convenience of patrons and it has, in fact, the character of a lounge. The pay-box is arranged to accommodate two queues of people at the same time, and the staircases and entrances are conveniently placed to minimise confusion. It also goes without saying that the cinema is provided with a café, and although this is under the same roof , it is arranged as not to interfere with the comfort of those inside. For those who have had experience of the type of cinema café which is only separated from the auditorium by a curtain, the freedom from the distraction of clattering crockery and incessant conversation will be much appreciated! [Manchester City News 31 August 1929. Page 8]
Opened Saturday 10th August 1929 (to public on Monday) 1.053 seats; two dressing rooms. Stage six feet deep Café attached. Closed 1957. Demolished.
Reference Builder 30 March 1928 Page 533
Reference Builder 27 July 1928 Page 165 - tenders
Reference Manchester City News 31 August 1929. Page 8