BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in:  Entertainment
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Thursday, 5 October, 2000, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Classic picture palaces protected
The Gala Bingo Club in Tooting, south London
Gala Bingo Club becomes England's first grade one listed cinema
More than 30 of Britain's most historic cinemas have been awarded listed building status for the first time, following a study carried out by English Heritage.

The study began in December in response to growing demand to protect classic picture pictures, usually when they were under threat of demolition.

Announcing the results on Thursday, arts minister Alan Howarth said that 32 classic cinemas had been granted the protected status.


It is fitting at the turn of the century that we review this wonderful legacy of buildings and take action to preserve them

Arts minister Alan Howarth

Eight others which were already listed had been promoted to grade one. The additions bring the total number of listed cinemas in England to 155.

Mr Howarth said: "Film is the quintessentially 20th century art form.

"The cinemas of the last century, sometimes called, without exaggeration, picture palaces, are part of everyone's heritage.

"It is fitting at the turn of the century that we review this wonderful legacy of buildings and take action to preserve them."

Inspiration

Many of the old cinema buildings boast intriguing building styles and reflect the development of the film industry.

The Gate cinema in Notting Hill, west London, for example has Edwardian plasterwork from the very early days of the silver screen.

The ABC in Halifax, west Yorkshire, has an auditorium that dates from the 1930s and is said to be one of the best remaining examples of its kind.

English Heritage found that many people were particularly concerned about the fate of those that had been converted into leisure facilities, such as bingo halls.

Film-maker Lord Puttnam
Film-maker Lord Puttnam was inspired by a classic cinema

Bingo has declined in popularity over the last few years leading to closure, and possible demolition, of the buildings.

Among the list of newly protected cinemas is one such hall, the Gala Bingo Club in Tooting, south London.

The club will in future enjoy an elite position as it becomes England's first grade one listed cinema.

The rest of the newly listed picture palaces cover the length and breadth of the country from the Odeon Cinema in Newcastle Upon Tyne to the Gaumont/Palace in Exeter, Devon.


Too many wonderful cinemas have been demolished or altered out of all recognition

Lord Puttnam

One of the major supporters of the English Heritage scheme has been the Oscar-winning film producer David Puttnam.

Speaking last December, Lord Puttnam explained how his own love for the cinema was sparked by an old cinema in Southgate, north London.

He said the cinema was demolished in 1982 even though it was a beautiful example of an art deco interior.

Lord Puttnam added: "Too many wonderful cinemas have been demolished or altered out of all recognition.

"We now have to make sure that those few amazing cinemas that do survive continue to exist for another 50 years."

See also:

07 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Plan to protect picture palaces
05 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Listed cinemas in full
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories