Bradford - Tennyson Cinema

Tennyson Cinema
Otley Road,

Tennyson Cinema
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Occupying a triangular corner position where Dacre Street and North Wing meet at the western side of Otley Road and opposite Tennyson Place from which it takes its name. Several of the streets around Tennyson Place were each named after famous authors. The surrounding area densely populated with Victorian terraced housing.


The Building
A purpose built brick and stone cinema of unusual exterior design due to its triangular shape. The narrow single storey main entrance fronted on to, though slightly set back, the busy Otley Road. The stalls rake was to follow the slope of the land down North Wing.


The entrance lobby and pay box led to the main body of the building. The cellar housed storage and boiler house. The auditorium seating a total of 1166 with 885 in the stalls and 277 in the balcony. The stalls seating in three blocks with two aisles and 15ft 6inches from the front row to the screen. The projection room was at the rear of the stalls.

The curved fronted balcony had twelve rows of seats, three aisles and a cross-over aisle with the rear section rising with shortened rows into the apex of its triangular shaped plan.


The Opening
Three months after the opening of the new Coronet just a few hundred yards further up Otley Road, Albert Shackleton opened his new Tennyson Picture House on Saturday 13th October 1923 at 6.30pm with a specially invited audience to see . . .

"Moran of the Mary Letty" - 1922 USA B/w Silent
Starring Rudolph Valentino, Dorothy Dalton and Charles Brinley.
A great super Production.
Also a Paramount Picture of
"The Japanese Earthquake" - 1923 USA B/w Silent
First time shown in Bradford, can only be seen at this cinema!

The programme then continued from Monday 15th October 1923 for the general public.
"Come early - Programmes Continuous Nightly from 6.30pm."

The company was registered as Tennyson Cinema Ltd with R.H. Adams as the general manager and with twice weekly programme changes.


New Owners and Sound
The Tennyson was later to come under the control of Kitchen's Lyceum Cinema Company and then Hibbert's Pictures Ltd with M.G.W. Armitage as managing director and film programmes booked in conjunction with the Lyceum at Laisterdyke.

By 1930 the Western Electric sound system had been installed. Prices were 4d to 1/-d for the now twice nightly performances.

During the early part of the war (circa 1940) memories are recalled of the commissionaire described as "a tall one-armed man wearing a peaked cap and very long overcoat". Very few suburban cinemas could afford the luxury of employing a uniformed commissionaire. Around this time the seating was reduced to 1157 capacity.

Throughout this time competition in the immediate area came from the Coronet higher up Otley Road and the Hippodrome/Roxy in Barkerend Road.

CinemaScope was installed around 1954 and seating further reduced to 1095 seats.


The Tennyson cinema closed on Saturday 1st July 1961 with . . .

"G.I Blues" - 1960 USA Technicolor 104mins.
Starring Elvis Presley, Juliet Prowser and Robert Ivers.

The premises were later to open as the Tennyson Bingo and Social Club. The building was later demolished as part of the Otley Road widening scheme.

Copyright ©2008, Colin Sutton.
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.


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