Hyde Park Picture House is an independent cinema situated at the heart of the student area of Leeds. It has survived in an age of multiplexes, purveying Hollywood blockbusters at top volume and cinema-goers munching on huge buckets of popcorn and sweets.
Despite the outbreak of war in August 1914, the Hyde Park Picture House was built and opened ready for business on the 7th November 1914. It is therefore one of the oldest surviving cinemas in the country.
Manager Wendy Cook explains a little about the history, the grandeur of the building and how they operate in the modern world. “Along with the Cottage Road cinema, we are the only survivors of the old-style, single screen cinema left in Leeds. Multiplexes have their advantages, we know that, but we offer a different experience. You’re sampling a film in a living, breathing slice of history. We know many of our regular customers and that personal touch is priceless.”
The cinema retains many of its original features from the decorated balcony to the external booth at the front of the building. These timely touches are probably why, although it is only a single screen cinema, it continues to attract moviegoers, old and new. It is also the only gas lit cinema remaining in the UK. Hyde Park Picture House is a Grade II listed building and so should be with us for many years to come.
As well as showing films, Hyde Park Picture House is heavily involved in the Young People’s Film Festival. It also provides a ‘Bring Your Own Baby’ film most weeks so that new mums can come with their baby’s and not worry about disturbing other moviegoers. There is also a Film Club that you can join for a year and watch new, interesting and obscure films with the added bonus of being able to discuss them with like-minded film buffs after the screening.
If you would like to find out more about the Hyde Park Picture House, or see what is showing at the moment go to www.hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk