Feature - The Hyde Park Picture House.

Secrets of a true Leeds treasure revealed.
munki
PostsCOLON 929
JoinedCOLON Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Postby munki » Fri 06 Apr, 2007 2:14 pm

This month Highly Irregular Features takes you behind the scenes on a much smaller building than the Town Hall, but no less iconic, no less loved. The Hyde Park Picture House is one of the last surviving Edwardian Picture Palaces in the United Kingdom.

These features are here not just to be read. There must be an awful lot of you out there who remember days out, dates out, at the Hyde Park Picture House! Add replies to this Feature to less us know your memories of part of the built fabric of Leeds of which we should all truly be proud!
'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.
munki
PostsCOLON 929
JoinedCOLON Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Postby munki » Fri 06 Apr, 2007 2:15 pm

Acting General Manager Wendy Cook met the Secret Leeds Team outside the Hyde Park Picture House on Brudenell Road at 9.30 on a beautiful April morning. Before the gates were opened, she revealed the first ‘mystery’. SLT had done a bit of research the night before. Most of the web-sites you look at will tell you that the Picture House was built in 1908 as a hotel, then converted into a Picture House in 1914. WC – ‘It’s a popular myth and we are not sure how it got about. It seems the land was bought in 1908 so that someone could build a hotel on it, but the building work never actually started. It doesn’t look like a hotel, & you can’t find any evidence inside of a conversion. The hotel was never built. It was purpose built as a Picture Palace and opened in 1914’.

Do any of you out there have pictures, records, stories, that confirm or deny this story?
Attachments
01.jpg
01.jpg (68.13 KiB) Viewed 2227 times
'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.
munki
PostsCOLON 929
JoinedCOLON Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Postby munki » Fri 06 Apr, 2007 2:16 pm


After a brief meeting in Wendy’s triangular office, so small that one of the three of us had to sit in the corridor, Wendy took us on a tour of the building. This is the projection room. WC – The projectors in here are forty years old but have only been here a few years, before that, they were at the Lounge Cinema in Headingley. A lot of the stuff in here originally came from other cinemas.
Attachments
02.jpg
02.jpg (42.64 KiB) Viewed 2227 times
'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.
munki
PostsCOLON 929
JoinedCOLON Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Postby munki » Fri 06 Apr, 2007 2:16 pm


A porthole window in the projection room, blackened out with a square hole in the middle, presumably designed to limit and grade the amount of light allowed into the room from outside.
Attachments
03.jpg
03.jpg (30.77 KiB) Viewed 2227 times
'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.

munki
PostsCOLON 929
JoinedCOLON Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Postby munki » Fri 06 Apr, 2007 2:18 pm


Wendy took us into the empty auditorium, cold at this time in the morning. SLT made the inevitable comment – There must be loads of ghost stories about this place. Wendy shuddered and said – There probably are, but I don’t listen to any of them. Being the manager, I spend a lot of time on my own in this building. I don’t want to hear about the ghost stories. It can be creepy enough without them.

We climbed up behind the red velvet curtain to stand in a cramped space, barely big enough for two, next to the winding mechanism for the curtains.
Attachments
03a.jpg
03a.jpg (74.29 KiB) Viewed 2227 times
'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.
munki
PostsCOLON 929
JoinedCOLON Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Postby munki » Fri 06 Apr, 2007 2:18 pm


WC – If you look up here behind the screen, you can see the original plasterwork which used to cover the whole of the inside of the auditorium, and some of the original colour scheme, the original peeling dark red, which almost looks as though it is fire-damaged. Oh, & there you can see daylight coming through the wall, which I’ve never noticed before.
Attachments
04.jpg
04.jpg (133.85 KiB) Viewed 2227 times
'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.
munki
PostsCOLON 929
JoinedCOLON Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Postby munki » Fri 06 Apr, 2007 2:21 pm


This picture was taken blind by sticking my hand in a narrow gap between the frame of the current screen & the screen itself. WC – originally, there would have been no screen at all. The films would have been projected directly onto the big blank wall at the end of the auditorium.
Attachments
05.jpg
05.jpg (31.1 KiB) Viewed 2227 times
'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.
munki
PostsCOLON 929
JoinedCOLON Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Postby munki » Fri 06 Apr, 2007 2:22 pm


Down into the basement, where Secret Leeds always really wants to go, with a sloped ceiling, directly below the auditorium. The basement is full of projector reels & old film posters. In the corner, is this an original piece of Edwardian stained glass, never used? Sadly not. If you move it, the whole sheet of plastic bends. WC – It was stuck over one of the blank windows upstairs when a film crew were in here a couple of years ago, filming Fat Friends.
Attachments
06.jpg
06.jpg (110.68 KiB) Viewed 2227 times
'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.

munki
PostsCOLON 929
JoinedCOLON Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Postby munki » Fri 06 Apr, 2007 2:23 pm


In the middle of the basement there is a little wooden shack, an office in its own right. An incongruous, damaged mural of tiger stripes papered to one wall, and this lovely old Western Electric Sound System sticker – The Voice of Action.
Attachments
07.jpg
07.jpg (42.26 KiB) Viewed 2227 times
'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.
munki
PostsCOLON 929
JoinedCOLON Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Postby munki » Fri 06 Apr, 2007 2:23 pm


Next to the beautiful old telephone, whoever used to use this office in the 1920s had stuck various cuttings from the Yorkshire Evening Post, narratives of Billiards contests amongst them, and above each one, the date of the article written in ink pen directly on to the wood of the wall. Do any Dear Readers out there have information about who might have worked in the Picture House in the early twenties?
Attachments
08.jpg
08.jpg (38.45 KiB) Viewed 2227 times
'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.

Return to





Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 1 and 0 guests