Royal Sutton Coldfield

Sutton's Cinemas

Suttons first cinema, known as Roselle’s was operating in 1915 from a hired hall in
Mere Green and from the first floor assembly rooms in the Town Hall in Mill Street.

Taken in 1935. The Empress stood on what is now the Victoria Road Multi Storey Car Park and Wilkinson's Store (Ex Sainsbury's) and the Sutton Coldfield Library. (2011). A 1916 advertisement refers to a new purpose built cinema situated on the Parade. Unfortunately this building was on somewhat unstable ground; the site of drained pools and the building was erected on piles as the brook flowed almost directly beneath. Woolworths later built a store on the site. ‘The Empress’ opened on 1st January 1923. this which cost £40000 was also not without its problems being erected on the site of the drained Jeromes and Skinners pools. The building incorporated a restaurant and a ballroom and later a twelve table snooker hall. It was closed and demolished to make way for the Central Library and Sainsbury's Centre in 1973. Sainsbury's later left the town.  The ABC cinema could seat 1500 people!! Its address was 45 Lower Parade. It had one screen.

David wilcox found a site which tells us:

The Empress Cinema opened on 1st January 1923 with Constance Talmadge in “East is West”, and was operated as an independent. It was designed by the architectural firm Satchwell & Roberts. The interior decoration consisted of panelled walls and pilasters. In 1935, it was extended and modernised in an Art Deco style, again to the plans of Satchwell & Roberts. The seating capacity was increased to 1,391. This modernisation was due to the opposition the cinema would have from the new Odeon Theatre planned in the town. From 31st August 1943 it was taken over by the Mayfair Circuit (a subsidiary of Associated British Cinemas(ABC)). It was re-named the ABC in 1963 and closed on 2nd July 1971 with George C. Scott in “Jane Eyre”. The building was demolished and a shopping precinct and library were built on the site.

ABC Empress Cinema, was located at corner of Lower Parade and South Parade. Image: David Wilcox.

The film showing above (circa 1954) The Teckman Mystery - Director: Wendy Toye
Writers: Francis Durbridge, James Matthews, Stars: Margaret Leighton, John Justin and Roland Culver
Dull, unimaginative, boring, flat - just some of the nicer accolades


 Did you know ODEON stands for Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation? See the above link for some in depth history on our Cinema. The Odeon, built on the site of the Whitehouse,
Maney was one of over 200 Odeon cinemas opened in the 1930s. Built in Art Deco style the cinema has Listed Building protection.

David Wilcox found this on a site:

Located in a prominent position on the corner of Chester Road and Gravelly Lane, Wylde Green, a suburb in the north of Birmingham near to Sutton Coldfield. The Pavilion Cinema was billed as ‘The Wonder Cinema of the Midlands’ and was built by an independent operator, opening on 10th October 1931 with Leslie Henson in "The Sport of Kings". It was the first cinema in Birmingham to be equipped with a Christie theatre organ, this one had 3Manuals/9Ranks and was opened by organist Frank Matthew. The cinema also had a cafe for the use of its patrons and the general public. It was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) from 11th January 1934 and they operated for the remainder of its life. It closed on 3rd September 1960 with Charlie Drake in "Sands of the Desert" and David Ladd in "Raymie". The building was gutted internally and converted into an ABC 10 pin bowling alley, but this was not very successful. After bowling ceased the building stood empty and unused for many years until it was demolished in 1974 and housing was built on the site. (Nothing new there then!)

Film showing - Desert Fox

'The Old Photographs of Sutton Coldfield' Compiled by Marion Baxter Ken Miles Lee Vale-Onslow - Friends of New Hall Mill     sutton coldfield. observer