New lease of life for Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds, one of Britain's oldest cinemas

One of Britain's oldest cinemas is set to enjoy a new lease of life.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 2:18 pm
Updated Monday, 15th March 2021, 2:20 pm
Triton Construction has been appointed as the main contractor to preserve and redevelop the Grade II listed Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds.

Triton Construction has been appointed as the main contractor to preserve and redevelop the Grade II listed Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds

The £2.8 million contract follows the announcement that the venue has secured a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant with match funding from Leeds City Council to secure its future.

Famous for its history and architectural prominence, Hyde Park Picture house opened at the beginning of the First World War in November 1914.

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It became popular for screening patriotic dramas and newsreels to boost morale during the war.

A spokesman said: "The Picture House survived the advent of sound in the movies and remains an iconic independent cinema, screening the best films from around the world.

"The major revamp is to include conservation works to the external façade, expansion of the foyer and the creation of a second cinema room in the basement, underneath the main auditorium. Whilst modern facilities will be installed, much of the heritage features will be retained and restored, including the gas lamps thought to be the only lights still in operation in a cinema anywhere in the world."

Ian Chapman, Construction Director at Triton Construction, said, “As a local contractor we are delighted to be appointed to restore this cultural gem that we are fondly familiar with and to play our part in securing its future.

“The project is not without its challenges due to its listed nature, but also because of the very tight site restrictions within a dense populated area. To allow a two-metre dig underneath the building for the second auditorium we will need to install a piled wall around the footprint of the site. Considerable provisions and ongoing public consultation are also critical for delivering the works in a live environment.”

Wendy Cook, the head of cinema for The Hyde Park Picture House, said, "From the very start, The Picture House Project has been a labour of love for all involved. And with the appointment of Triton as the project's main contractor, we're confident that we've found a partner who not only shares in our passion but has the vital heritage experience required to realise our exciting plans to the highest possible standard."

Triton will start on site next month and expects to complete the restoration within 57 weeks. More details about the project can be found at www.thepicturehouseproject.com.

The professional team includes Page\Park Architects, project manager Avison Young, engineering consultancy Buro Happold and cost consultants Gardiner Theobold.

Triton Construction Ltd has a large amount of experience of working on heritage projects. Last year it completed the major redevelopment of the landmark Royal Liver Building in Liverpool.

Local project experience includes the refurbishment of three mill buildings at a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Saltaire, the £2.8 million refurbishment of the Grade 2 listed Unity Hall in Wakefield, and the £1.5 million refurbishment of the Grade II listed Cliffe House and Coach House in Shepley.

Triton Construction is a £50 million turnover company which employs more than 80 people across its offices in the North West and Yorkshire.