Building Name

Reconstruction: Capitol Cinema School Lane Didsbury

1932 - 1933
School Lane
Didsbury, Manchester
GMCA, England
New Build
James Cocker Limited. Station Saw Mills, Walkden

The Capitol opened on 21 May 1931, but on 25 April 1932 it had been gutted by fire, leaving only the walls and entrance standing. Cummings was re-appointed to rebuild the damaged cinema, which he did in a more ornate style, and it re opened on 16 August 1933. 1900 seat picture house. 

It became part of the Union circuit in February 1936, which in turn was absorbed into ABC in October 1937. It had seen some limited use as a live theatre in 1948/1949, but it soon reverted to cinema use, in which form it did a disappointing trade. The final closure as a cinema came on 14 January 1956, and the work of converting it into ABC Television’s northern studios began, ready for the first broadcasts on 5 May. The main studio B situated in the former stalls   had a stage area of 5000 square feet and seating for an audience of 600. The second studio, situated at the level of the former circle was 1000 square feet in size. The building was solely for ABC's use, the weekday contractor Granada having enlisted Festival of Britain architect Ralph Tubbs to design a purpose built studio complex - the first in Britain   in Quay Street, Manchester.  The talent show "Opportunity Knocks" presented by Hughie Green, was broadcast from here. Later in the year, it was borrowed by Granada, which felt its own largest studio at the time was too small to accommodate its production of Look Back in Anger by John Osborne.


The Capitol Cinema, destroyed by fire earlier in the year is to be rebuilt to plans by the original architect, P Cummings ARIBA 51 King Street, Manchester. [Builder 24 June 1932 Page 1114]

In 1999 the building was demolished for a residential development on the site, 'Capitol Court'.

Reference    Builder 23 September 1932 Page 528 - plans approved by Local Authority
Reference    Builder 24 June 1932 Page 1114
Reference    Builder 18 November 1932 Page 880
Reference    Builder 25 November 1932 Page 915