Blue plaque honour for one of country’s ‘super-cinemas’

It was one of the so-called ‘super-cinemas’ built to seat thousands of film fans eager for a bit of escapism after experiencing the horrors of the First World War.

Wednesday, 11th July 2012, 7:00 am

Now developers are turning what was once the most luxurious cinema in Leeds into a bar and restaurant complex.

But today a blue plaque celebrating what was once known as the Majestic Cinema, in City Square, will be unveiled on the front of the Grade II listed building.

The cinema opened 90 years ago in June, 1922, and boasted an impressive seating capacity of 1,600 in the stalls with a further 1,200 in the balcony.

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Its lavish décor wowed visitors with its exterior decorated in terracotta swags and its interior displaying a 84 feet diameter dome which can still be seen today, along with its original flooring and handrails. The range of events the cinema offered attracted visitors from far and wide.

It showcased music by the Majestic Symphony Orchestra, held political rallies, as well as screening numerous popular films including The Sound of Music which was seen by over half a million people.

Unfortunately the rise of televisions saw a fall in audiences, which led it to convert into a bingo hall after showing its last film Clint Eastwood’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, in 1969.

The plaque is being awarded by Leeds Civic Trust.

Its director Dr Kevin Grady said: “It is a place where Leeds people have spent many happy hours.

“The plaque celebrates both the history of the cinema and the brilliant job Rushbond Plc have done in restoring it to its former glory.”