Bradford - Ideal Cinema

Ideal Picture House
Manchester Road,
Bankfoot, Bradford.

Former Ideal Picture House
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On the western side of Manchester Road close to the junction with Rooley Lane at Bankfoot. A heavily built-up area with terraced housing and on a main tram and bus route.


The Building
Joe Holmes, an enterprising businessman, registered his new company Bankfoot Pictures Ltd on 22nd October 1913 with £4,000 in £1 shares. This was to be the start of Joe Holmes cinema interest as he was later to become involved with Shipley Picture House (former Palace) in 1915 then his new Baildon Picture House in 1917 and the Hippodrome in Barkerend Road in 1921.

The company erected the Ideal Picture House as a purpose-built simple two storey stone and brick building with a pitched roof. The building was wider that its length and had a small balcony.

Costing £6,000 it boasted seating for 700 in red plush tip-up chairs, thick carpets and the latest heating, lighting and ventilation compared to older buildings converted to picture houses.


The Opening
Joe Holmes opened his Ideal Picture House but there is some confusion over the exact date . . .
Theatre historian G.W. Mellor suggests it was on Thursday 19th February 1914 with . . .
"In the Shadows" - B/w Silent.
(No details available.)
plus . . .
"Three Little Orphans" - 1914 UK B/w Silent.
Starring Dorothy Batley, Gladys Johnson and Iris O'Gorman.
"Cutey's Waterloo" - 1913 USA B/w Silent.
Starring Wally Van, Lilian Walker and Ada Gifford.

An uncredited and undated newspaper cutting reported . . .
"A well appointed hall serving the needs of a populous district. Tip-up seats in all parts - The cosiest hall in Bradford."

Whilst the Bradford Daily Telegraph suggests the opening was on Monday 15th March 1914 and its issue on Tuesday 16th March 1914 reported . . .

"The latest addition to Bradford's list of picture theatres is the Ideal, a well equipped hall at Bankfoot. The building which is constructed solidly of stone, and which is one of the most up-to-date houses in Bradford, cost £6,000 to build. There are many features to be noted inside the building, chief among them being its roominess. For the cold weather a heating apparatus has been installed, whilst ample ventilation is provided by means of fans, etc.

The ceiling and the front of the balcony are the only portions where ornamentation has been resorted to, and the design is very pleasing to the eye. The seats, which are of the tip-up variety, are exceedingly comfortable and the gangways conform to the new "four foot" rule. The lighting of the hall is provided by hanging ceiling lights and shaded pendant lamps, whilst the floor is carpeted with a handsome red and blue pile carpet. The manager is Mr H. Pickles."


After the War Years
With Herbert Pickles as manager and the First World War which affected all cinemas with the crowds flocking to see the Latest from the War Front". Joe Holmes had moved on to his other cinema interests and later owners included James Whiteside and Cecil Barnett who was later to be involved with the Oxford in Undercliffe and Cansfield's new Carlton cinema. With resident manager A Hugil followed in the mid-1920s by A Crossland, it was two shows nightly and two programme changes weekly.

A special attraction was advertised for the week commencing Monday 1st May 1922 . . .

All this Week - Great Master Production
"Over the Hill" - 1920 USA B/w Silent.
Starring Mary Carr.
Everyone should see this great master film.
The film that made a star of Mary Carr.
Special music by the Ideal Orchestra.
Times of showing 6.30 and 8.30pm.
To play a film for a whole week was a little unusual for a small suburban cinema like the Ideal and like most cinemas of the period it had a small orchestra.

The ideal never installed "Talkies" and audiences soon drifted away to the now better equipped Carlton and Towers Hall both lower down Manchester Road.


Closure as a Cinema
The Ideal closed on Monday 31st March 1930 and had not advertised in the local newspaper for some time, therefore details of final films show are not known.


Ideal Ballroom
After lying empty for around four years, it was purchased by Herbert Shutt and converted into a splendid ballroom (dance hall) with a sprung maple floor claimed to be "the finest in the North of England". Shutt opened his new ballroom in 1934 with the advertising slogan . . .
"Come to Bert Shutt's - It's Just Different".

This was to be a tremendous success with a live band and lasted for almost three decades - a longer time than when it was a cinema. It survived the Second World War (probably its busiest time) and the infamous 'Teddy Boy' era of the 1950s. After the war its was dancing to records during the week but on Saturday nights it was Freddy Fernside on violin leading a versatile quartet. Eventually it closed and Bert Shutt had later involvements with the Alhambra Theatre of which he became a director.


Later Uses
Ideal Bingo The premises were converted in 1962 to the Ideal Bingo Club with the same slogan "It's Just Different" as was used by the dance hall and retained the illuminated advertising sign on the façade of the building.

The building still exists and has been used for warehouse storage and a carpet showroom. Currently in 2009 it is up for sale for redevelopment.

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