Ellie Ames 27 June 2023

UK’s last remaining gaslit cinema to reopen

UK’s last remaining gaslit cinema to reopen image
Image: Hyde Park Picture House.

On Friday (30 June), The Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds will open its doors to visitors after a £4.8m refurbishment.

The Grade II Listed Building, which first opened in 1914, has been undergoing renovation work for eight years.

Cllr Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: ‘It’s hugely exciting to see such a cherished piece of the city’s cultural landscape opening its doors once more after what has been a once-in-a-lifetime heritage project.

‘It’s wonderful to know this venue’s unique character has been protected and preserved and that it will continue to welcome audiences for many more generations to come.’

The funding for the project came from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Leeds City Council.

Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: ‘We’re thrilled that money raised by National Lottery players has preserved this majestic building as a mainstay of the city’s rich, and evolving, cultural heritage.’

The cinema’s nine gas lights have been refurbished so that they can now be lit for every screening.

The refurbishment also includes an extension, restored interior, improved accessibility, and a second screen with 50 seats. The second screen is due to open later in July.

In 2014, the Picture House commissioned a feasibility study to explore ways the cinema’s accessibility and sustainability could be improved.

This study formed the basis of an application to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, who after a two-year development period, confirmed a £2.3m grant for The Picture House Project.

Chris Blythe, Leeds Heritage Theatres CEO, said: ‘When we started work on the Picture House project in 2015 we had no idea of the challenges ahead and how long our original timeline would have to be extended. Nor did we fully appreciate the support and love so many people across the city and nationally would show for our cinema.

‘As we stand on the cusp of re-opening, we are looking forward to a bright future with this gem of a Picture House restored and more accessible than ever before.’

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