Following the events this week at the Majestic we thought we would share some of our photographs from the early days as a cinema. All photographs are from our Leodis website.
The Majestic was built on the site of the former recruiting office used during the First World War. This image from 5th October 1919 shows the site cleared before the Majestic was built.
An article in the Yorkshire Evening News on 16th January 1920 described the plans for the new building, ‘the decorations and appointments will be of a most sumptuous character and quite a part from the magnificent cinema theatre there will be first class restaurant, ladies and gentlemen’s hairdressing saloons, cafes, foyers, lounges and ‘crush rooms’.
The Majestic Cinema opened on Whit Monday, 5th June 1922 and was designed to seat 2500. The architect was P.J. Stienlet of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and the proprietors were Leeds Picture Playhouses Ltd. The Lord Mayor of Leeds, W. Hodgson Esq. performed the opening ceremony and the first film shown was the silent, melodramatic ‘Way Down East’ which had been released in 1920. It was accompanied by the Majestic Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Francois Grandpierre. Harry Davidson played the Grand £5,000 organ with special effects.
The dome of the cinema had a diameter of nearly 26 metres. More recently a suspended ceiling was put in covering the circle area, but the great frieze, depicting chariots and horsemen, surrounding the dome remained.
Cinema foyer showing trailing plants and lamps hanging from the circular balcony.
The premises included a restaurant that could cater for five hundred diners, and also a dance hall in the basement. This dance hall or ballroom opened for afternoon tea dances and evening dances.
The exterior marmo terracotta was made by Leeds Fireclay of Burmantofts,
The Cinema closed in 1969. The last film shown was Clint Eastwood in ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’. It was then used as a bingo hall and opened as the Majestyk nightclub in 1996.
The nightclub closed in 2006 and had recently undergone a period of refurbishment. Let’s hope, after this week, it can once more be brought back to its former glory.