Paignton Picture House

Palladium Cinema, Torquay Road, Paignton. 1932 – 1989

The two photographs above show the Cinema in the 1930s and then in the 1940's when it became the Odeon.

Opening its doors for the first time on Saturday 31st December 1932, it was known as The palladium from 1932 to 1943. The programme for that day was a Walt Disney Cartoon called 'Trees and Flowers', a Laurel and Hardy short called 'In Country Hospital', followed by The Palladium news and then the main feature which was the brand new, 'The Midshipman', starring Jessie Matthews, with John Mills in his first film role.

There were three performances daily, at 2.30pm, 5.45pm and 8.30pm. Stalls were 7d to 1/6d, Balcony 1/6d to 2 shillings. Children were half price for matinees.

The programme on the first day was opened by Melbourne Holman, a famous organist of that time, playing the cinema's, Christie Two-Manual, 7 ranks organ. I am trying to find out what happened to this Christie organ when the cinema was closed, anyone with information please let me know. A local organist would usually be employed to play popular music, mainly at evening performances.

The cinema had a seating capacity of 1100 and was designed and built to the latest safety regulations by architect Mr William Wolff and builder Mr R.M Ely, both of Paignton.

The Palladium Café was opened to the public from early afternoon until 10pm at night.

In 1943 the Palladium was taken over by Oscar Deutsch Empire and was renamed The Odeon.

In the 1960's it became a Rank Bingo hall, until it closed and was demolished in 1989 to make way for retirement apartments.

The two photographs above show the Cinema in the 1980s and on the right the same site today.

Triangle Cinedrome / Electric Palace. "The bug house"
7 Totnes Road, Paignton. 1911 – 1953

There is not a lot of information about this cinema, and what there is seems to be conflicting.

The entrance to this old cinema is still intact, containing a small lobby with shop doors either side, one to what was a haberdashery (now closed) and the other to a business specialising in helping people with tax problems - The Tax Shop, whose sign is still above the entrance.

Local publicity has the cinema opening on 15 April 1911. Named The Electric Palace, it had 320 seats and was owned by Paignton Electric Palace ltd.

By 1920, the name has changed to The Cinedrome, according to the Kinematograph year book, and was now owned by Major A.O Ellis. During this time, the seating was decreased to 270 seats, perhaphs due to increasing the screen size or new fire regulations.

The cinema changed its name again to The Electric Palace and was closed before 1953 as there is no mention of it in the Kinematograph book of that year. It seems most locals remember it being called "The bug house" (wonder why). One of the reasons for closure was the danger to cinema goers and pedestrians from queuing to get in, and exiting the cinema on a narrow pavement between cinema and the now busy Totnes Road.

The cinema is a bit unusual as it fits into a wedge shape triangular building with roads all around it.

If you look at the building from the cinema entrance it seems the cinema took up about half of this building, with the shops to the right originally being the booking, cloakroom, and office. There are stairs which also took you to other areas. There are also reports, that on the first floor to the left was a meeting room which was originally used by the Paignton Liberal party and then was used as the first Paignton library.

Paignton Picture House