Memories of The Elite Cinema, Upper Pariament Street, Nottingham
The Elite was one of the first in a new breed of ‘super-cinema’ to be built in Nottingham. Designed by the London architectural firm of Adamson & Kinns, the facade and exterior side walls were treated in an expensive white glazed tiling and contained statues along the upper portion of the building. Internally the decoration was carried out by interior designer Fred A. Foster who created a stunning interior with the auditorium walls lined with wood panels and a great deal of decorative plaster. Seating was provided in stalls and circle levels.
It opened on 22nd August 1921 with Mary Pickford in “Pollyanna”. There was a grand concert organ by the firm of Willis-Lewis which had 78 stops, plus a full orchestra. The facilities within the building also included a a restaurant, a Georgian Tea Room, a French Cafe in Louis XVI style and a large ballroom located on the top floor.
In the reception was a gigantic ornate open coal-fired fire-place.
The first ‘talkie’ in Nottingham was shown at the Elite Picture Theatre, George Jessel in “Lucky Boy” and after its screening, the cinema was closed for several weeks in July 1929 for a refurbishment.
A new Compton 2Manual/6Ranks organ was installed which was opened by Cyril Birmingham.
24 June 1929: The talking picture show had been introduced two years earlier in America with Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer.
Organist Jack Helyer, in his white coat and tails, entertained audiences with their favourite tunes.
Peoples best memories was of the open fire in the foyer, especially when they arrived at he cinema and it was cold and icy outside!
Next in the Nottingham Then and Now Series:
A selction of Nottingham area photographs of specific Buildings
Then and Now – See the changes that has taken place.