Going to the movies to watch the latest blockbuster is something that has always happened in Burton.
Back in the day, before Netflix and Amazon Prime the only way to watch the latest movies was to head down to the nearest ‘pictures’ with a snack or something to drink to see it on the big screen.
For a lot of people a visit to the ‘flicks’ was the only form of entertainment and a very popular one at that.
At one time, the town boasted at least eight cinemas, and the chances are each one was showing a different film.
Although we have long bid farewell to the likes of the Electric Cinema, the Picturedome and the Derby Turn Picture Palace, we still have Cineworld, in Burton’s town centre, and the Red Carpet Cinema at Barton Marina.
The old ‘picture houses’ will be fondly remembered by people in the town for a variety of reasons, including many who went on a first date there as going to the cinema was the perfect night out for this.
Of course, one of the best known cinemas was The Ritz, also known as the Odeon and more recently Robins until it closed in 2000 to make way for the nine-screen Cineworld, in Middleway Park, off Guild Street.
And who remembers the little sweet shop a few doors down from the Odeon where eager children would stock up on penny chews and then spend Saturday morning at the pictures?
We’ve taken a look at some of the cinemas, past and present in and around Burton. Let us know your memories in the comments below.
The Electric, in High Street, was purpose-built on the site of the Empire Tea Store with its 750 velvet tip-up seats and tea lounge. It was owned by National Electric Theatres and was eventually taken over by Gaumont.
The Electric Theatre was opened on October 25, 1910, with The Indiscretions of Betty.
In 1928, it was taken over by Gaumont British Theatres chain and was closed for the auditorium to be reconstructed.
It reopened on September 10, 1928, with an increased seating capacity for 1,025, which was later increased to 1,050 by 1941.
The cinema even had a café attached to it to make for a good night out.
In 1929 the first talkie picture, which meant it had sound, was the ‘King of the Khyber Rifles’.
The cinema closed for a few days, as did all cinemas, on the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 but was soon reopened with a special showing of Sherlock Holmes starring Basil Rathbone.
It was renamed Gaumont on November 28, 1949, and was closed on May 29, 1956.
But did you know that the town can trace its cinema history way back to 1900 thanks to the little-known Cosy Corner, in Station Street?
It used to stand roughly where Burton menswear stands today.
It existed until at least 1907 but is thought to have closed by 1910 as it would not have complied with new laws which came into place regulating such buildings.
The cinema opened in Curzon Street in 1913. You could have watched a film in old money for 2D, 3D, 6D or 1s.
In 1920 an organ from a London church was even installed there.
The building was replaced with a superior one in 1931.
The cinema was acquired by Odeon Theatres Ltd in 1955.
At that time it had 1,599 seats. It was renamed Odeon on July 16, 1956, by which time, it had 1,296 seats.
The Odeon was closed on June 5, 1965. The building became a Top Rank Club for bingo, then later Mecca Bingo.
That club closed around December 2003. The building was subsequently demolished; a block of flats now occupies the site.
Anglesey Picture House
Next came the Anglesey Picture House – which stood in the same place as the Anglesey Hall, in Friars Walk, and was built as part of a complex by the YMCA.
It was around 1907 or 1908 that it was let out for cinema shows, but when the nearby Electric Cinema opened in 1910 the Anglesey concentrated on live shows and music hall turns with only the occasional film.
However, the licence was kept on and in 1924 the Anglesey Picture House, was advertised as being under new management.
Gaumont, owners of the Electric, next to Andressey Passage, off High Street, may have brought out the lessees or persuaded the YMCA to end the lease because the Anglesey then reverted to live shows and dancing into the 1930s’.
The Derby Turn Picture Palace, also known as the Regent, existed as a cinema at the junction of Dallow Street and Horninglow Road, from 1920 and 1939.
The Derby Turn Picture Palace opened on November 17, 1920, with 900 seats.
It showed its first talkie, Innocents of Paris, on July 28, 1930.
In 1932 the cinema was sold to opposition company Burton-on-Trent Picturedrome Company, who renamed it the Regent Cinema.
The cinema closed in 1940 when it was requisitioned by the Government as a Ministry store. Post-war, it became a post office.
It later became a bingo hall Bingo which closed around 2005, and the building was used by the Christian International Ministries Church until, at November 2008, the building was destroyed by a fire.
Shops have subsequently been built on the site.
The purpose built nine-screen cinema Cineworld opened in October 2000 to great fanfare and was the first business to take up residence on the newly created Middleway Park, off Guild Street.
It included 1,700 seats.
It was officially opened by the-then Mayor of East Staffordshire Peter Haynes and former Burton Albion Football Club manager Nigel Clough.
Back in the beginning, the Guild Street building was originally the Opera House (also known as the Hippodrome), in 1934 it was acquired by the Burton Picturedome Company and in 1935 was reopened under The Ritz.
In 1937 it became the Gaumont, then changed back to The Ritz, before taking on the Odeon name in 1974 following a £60,000 revamp becomng the town’s first triple-screen cinema.
Odeon became Robins and later closed in 2000 to make way for the current 1,700-seat cinema Cineworld in nearby Middleway Park, in Guild Street, which created 70 jobs.
After a long period of closure, it later was transformed into a world buffet restaurant. It is now a music venue.
The Red Carpet Cinema
Kate and Ian Silverwood opened their two-screen cinema in August, 2013, and it went from strength to strength, offering a meal with film incorporated in a deal.
The Red Carpet Cinema is an independent cinema and cafe focusing on intelligent mainstream and art house films at Barton Marina near Barton under Needwood.
It created 32 jobs after securing support from the Growing Places Fund.
The couple turned to the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership via East Staffordshire Borough Council after being turned down for finance from mainstream lenders.
The fund exists to kick start development projects that had stalled as a result of difficulties accessing finance.