Page\Park Architects’ proposals for the refurbishment of a historic picture house in Leeds – thought to be the world’s last remaining gas-lit cinema – have been lodged with planners
The Glasgow-based practice’s plans for the Hyde Park Picture House include a new three-storey extension built onto the Grade-II listed Edwardian building, and a new basement with a second screen.
The firm won a competition for the £3.6 million project, run by Leeds City Council and backed by the building’s operator Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, as part of a drive to attract new audiences to the small community cinema.
Page\Park said the Hyde Park Picture House was a ‘historic, incredibly popular and intensively used community cinema’ with remarkable surviving elements, including the foyer and the hexagonal ticket office.
As part of the renovations the practice sought to include extra space without overwhelming the ‘condensed charm of the original’ and retained the existing entrance and the current box office kiosk for display purposes.
The foyer will be enlarged and linked to the extension under the proposals, with a new box office, kiosk and café created in a centralised hub.
The cinema was designed by Thomas Winn & Sons and completed in 1914. It occupies a prominent corner plot at the junction of Brudenell Road and Queen’s Road in the Hyde Park area of Leeds. Leeds City Council took over the building when it was threatened with closure in 1989, creating Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House as an independent company to operate the cinema and other local venues.
Page\Park recently announced it has opened a new satellite studio in Leeds to provide a local base for its projects in the city and explore further opportunities in the region.
Karen Pickering, chair of the board at Page\Park said: ’We are tremendously excited about this step, and believe it to be a significant moment in the life and journey of the practice, as we seek to think differently, do differently, create differently’.
In August 2016, £2.4 million in funding was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support the project.
An objection to the Hyde Park Picture House scheme has been sent to Leeds City Council by local group the Leeds Civic Society, which, while supportive of the overall refurbishment, is objecting to the three-storey extension.
Hyde park picture house betty longbottom
Source: Betty Longbottom