History part 1 – The Early Years

Opened on 16th September 1912 the ‘Lime Street Picture House’ was a very upmarket city centre cinema and was considered, up until its closure to be the leading cinema of the circuit, even described as the finest in the kingdom. The creme de la creme! with a georgian styled facade & a French renessance interior.The grand entrance foyer had a black & white square tiled floor and the walls were of sicilian marble. It housed a luxurious cafe on the 1st floor and the auditorium was designed to have the effect of a live theatre with an abundance of architectural features, embellished by plaster mouldings. It provided seating for 1029 patrons. The cinema also boasted a full orchestra to accompany the silent films.

On the 14th August 1916, the cinema changed its name to ‘City Picture House’ due to another cinema opening in Clayton Square which was called ‘Liverpool Picture House’. And in October 1920 a new company was formed ‘Futurist (Liverpool) LTD’ to purchase the cinema and the two shops for £167,000. The building was a leasehold from Liverpool Corporation and from this time The Futurist ( and the Scala, adjacent, now X in the City) were both controlled by Levy Cinema Circuit, they also had cinemas in Birmingham.

The era of silent films ended in 1929 at the futurist and new ‘Western Electric Talking Equipment’ was installed. By the 1930’s cinemas were popping up everywhere, the Forum in 1931 & the Paramount on London Road in 1934. This obviously affected The Futurist’s business and resulted in the cinema showing 2nd runs of leading films.

1938 original

A view of the cinema taken in 1938

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