History of The Picturedrome
In the Beginning..
Originally, the Picturedrome was known as the Holme Valley Theatre and was opened on Easter Monday, March 1st 1913. Amazingly, the original plan of the theatre (which was actually designed as a cinema) seated 1040 people; 240 in the balcony and 800 downstairs. The old projector box was actually positioned outside the cinema, while electricity for lighting was generated by a gas engine installed in an outbuilding. Most probably the projectors were cranked by hand.
The first films to be shown in the Valley Theatre were: 'A Court Intrigue', 'That Awful Pipe' and 'Betrayed by a Kiss'. The musical accompaniment was probably live and later replaced with a recorded music device called a panatrope. This was basically a record player with twin turntables.
In the first 10 to 15 years, the theatre presented its audience with a large variety of live acts including musicians, actors and even a stage appearance of a strong man billed as Yorkshire's Hercules. The first sound feature was the popular 'Sunnyside Up', which opened on 13/10/1930. The same year, the auditorium had been redecorated and recarpeted, and a new screen was installed with electrically operated curtains, while dimmers had been fitted to the lights. The projection system was greatly improved as was the sound system.
Over the years
In 1957 children's Saturday matinees were discontinued at the time of an extensive influenza outbreak in the Autumn but were not resumed. Over the years seating capacity had gradually been reduced and by 1952 there were only 779. In March 1963 to celebrate the cinema's Golden Jubilee, there were a series of 'Carry On' films with a group of musicians on stage throughout the week.
In Autumn 1965 childrens' Saturday matinees were reintroduced and continued until May 1966. However, with dwindling audiences, it was no surprise when The Valley Theatre closed on Saturday 16th September 1967 with 'The Family Way' starring John Mills and his daughter Haley.
Still owned by the Valley Picture Theatre Company, it was leased to Bradford Amusement Caterers and reopened as a bingo hall on Wednesday, December 20th 1967. Bingo kept the flag flying for some 26 years but then the theatre was unused. Plans to reopen the it as a cinema came to nothing.
The Cinema Re-opens!
Towards the end of 1997 it was purchased by Andrew Bottomly and eventually leased to Peter & Rachel Carr in Thursday, 26th November 1998, who later bought the building in 2003. The ground floor was utilised as a cinema capable of staging live performances.
There was a new name for the cinema, which was actually an old name as Holmfirth's first cinema in Dunford Road - The Picturedrome.