Leeds’ Hyde Park Picture House marks 103rd birthday

Hyde Park Picture House. Picture Tony Johnson
Hyde Park Picture House. Picture Tony Johnson
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A cornerstone of Leeds’ cinema history will mark its 103rd birthday this Thursday.

Hyde Park Picture House will celebrate its anniversary with a series of screenings of archive films about the city.

Inside Hyde Park Picture House

Inside Hyde Park Picture House

The gas-lit cinema has teamed up with the Yorkshire Film Archive and Leeds International Film Festival to roll back 100 years of Leeds on film, featuring highlights such as Children’s Day events in Roundhay Park to controversies at Leeds Market in the 1980s.

Graham Relton, archive manager at the Yorkshire Film Archive, will provide introductions and context to the clips, which demonstrate just how much Leeds has changed and developed over the decades. He said: “As a Leeds lad the pressure is on but I’m delighted to say that this event is packed full with fantastic film heritage, taken from and about the city over the past 100 years.”

He added: “The Leeds on Film screening is a wonderful window onto the history of Leeds, and fitting programme to bring to an historic venue like the Hyde Park Picture House.”

The Leeds on Film event also marks the beginning of the 31st Leeds International Film Festival, which runs from November 1 to 16, featuing hundreds of screenings at venues across the city.

The Hyde Park Picture House, Brudenell Road, Leeds. Pictured in 1976.

The Hyde Park Picture House, Brudenell Road, Leeds. Pictured in 1976.

Picture House general manager Wendy Cook said: “What better way to mark the start of the festival, and our 103rd birthday, than coming together to celebrate the history of Leeds with a superb programme.”

There will be screenings at 3pm and 7pm on November 2. Adult tickets cost £5.

*** Hyde Park Picture House is the world’s only surviving gas-lit cinema which opened just after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 and became popular broadcasting news bulletins and morale-boosting dramas.

In 1989, Leeds City Council was forced to step in to save it from closure. It is now owned by Leeds City Council as part of the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House Limited. This independent company is dedicated to preserving, and securing the future of three of Leeds’s most historically and culturally significant venues.