In the early 1900s, a new type of
entertainment in the form of moving pictures became
very popular and people greatly enjoyed a night at
the local cinema. Tipton had more cinemas than many
other towns in the Black Country, six in all: The
Alhambra, The Cinema, The Palace, The Picture House,
The Tivoli, and The Victoria. Cinemas became a
practicality after the passing of the Cinematograph
Act in 1910 that allowed permanent installations in
premises that could be inspected and licensed.
Dudley Port once had its own cinema called 'The
Alhambra' that stood on the corner of Dudley Port
and Groveland Road. It occupied a building that was
known as 'The Alhambra Rink', a roller-skating rink
that had previously been a Salvation Army Citadel.
'The Alhambra' cinema opened late in 1910 or early
1911 and during the First World War was operated by
Round and Hipkins. After the war it was acquired by
fairground entrepreneur Pat Collins, who ran the
cinema until December 1927, when he sold it to Miles
Jervis Cinemas of Chasetown. They also owned cinemas
in Wednesbury, West Bromwich and Oldbury.
Around 1933, Miles Jervis sold
the cinema to Sheridan Film Services of
Burton-on-Trent, who demolished the building and
replaced it with a modern cinema. The structural
steelwork was provided by Rubery Owen of Darlaston,
and the bricks came from Pratts brickworks at
Oldbury. The interior was tastefully decorated with
murals on the side walls, depicting mountain scenes,
silk rose pink curtains, and accommodation for 830
people, in plush tip-up seats. The cinema was
officially opened on Monday the 8th April, 1935, by
Councillor A. F. Welch, Chairman of Tipton Urban
District Council. The first film was 'Sing As We Go'
starring Gracie Fields.
From the Tipton
Herald newspaper, July 1957.
From the Tipton
Herald newspaper, September 1957.
Although 'The Alhambra' in its
rebuilt form was Tipton's finest cinema, it stood in
a poor location and so attendances were worse than
expected. In the 1960s, Bingo sessions were held in
the cinema, run by the Midland Cinema Bingo Club.
'The Alhambra' became Tipton’s last surviving cinema
when 'The Bruce' in New Hall Street, closed in 1962.
Sadly 'The Alhambra' closed on the 3rd August, 1963
due to declining audiences. The last film was
'Sparrows Can't Sing' starring James Booth and
There was once a cinema in High
Street, on the same side as the Wagon and Horses
public house, just beyond Chaters Close, called 'The
Cinema'. It was housed in an old school building
that was converted into a cinema in 1913. It had
opened by October of that year and initially seated
around 450 people, which was reduced to around 300
when improved seating was installed. Around 1930 it
was acquired by Fred Leatham and it remained in his
family until it closed.
Audiences were often small, but
the cinema remained in business until Saturday the
21st June, 1958, when the last film was shown. The
site was acquired by the council and redeveloped.
There was once a cinema in
Great Bridge, on the left-hand corner of Slater
Street, where a row of shops now stands. It was
called 'The Palace' and was built in an old hall,
believed to have been an Odd Fellows' Hall. The main
hall, which could seat around 750 people, ran
alongside Great Bridge with a foyer on the corner of
Slater Street and an entrance in Slater Street.
Films were being shown there before the end of
1910. In the late 1920s the cinema was acquired by
Cyril Joseph, who ran Storer Pictures. In 1958 the
cinema was purchased by Vincent Wareing. Sadly it
closed on the 16th April, 1960, at a time when there
was a vast decline in cinema audiences. The last
film was 'Valley Of Fury', starring Victor Mature.
From the Tipton
Herald newspaper, January 1957.
Princes End once had a cinema
in a location that seems strange today. It was in
New Hall Street, off Bloomfield Road, roughly
halfway between Bloomfield Road and Foundry Street,
where modern houses now stand. It was called 'The
Picture House' and was built in an old disused
chapel. The cinema opened on the 18th November 1912
and was owned by Mr. B. T. Parsons. By the First
World War, Joseph Pearson had acquired the site. An
audience of 500 could be squeezed into the small
hall, which became known as the 'Brew-House'. The
seating was later improved and the hall could then
accommodate 350 people.
Sadly the venture was
unsuccessful and Joseph Pearson was declared
bankrupt. Undaunted, Mr. and Mrs. Jones acquired the
cinema and turned the business around. They even
leased the building on Sundays to the Rev. John
Young, Minister of New Hall Street Baptist Church,
for talks and slide shows after evening service. BTH
Sound equipment was installed and the cinema
continued to be well attended. It was then purchased
by Mr. MacDonald, who ran the cinema with his
At the beginning of 1948 it
became the 'The Bruce'. Central heating was
installed and the interior again redecorated. The
cinema became very popular and was sold to Mr. and
Mrs. Woodroffe in 1953, who again refurbished the
interior. A bright future seemed certain, but the
council refused to renew the license. On the 31st
May, 1962, an arson attack in the house next door
resulted in some damage to the cinema which was soon
afterwards compulsorily purchased by the Council.