Keighley Picture House: Bradford’s Silver Screen Survivor
Keighley Picture House: Still a cinema, not a bingo hall
By Cath Muldowney
Opened in 1913, this fine example of an early 20th-century cinema has undergone many changes over the years, but the outside remains resplendent in its originality, with red and white livery. Although it occasionally hosted one-night shows from pop stars such as Marty Wilde and Billy Fury in the 1950s and 1960s, the cinema has managed to escape the ignominious fate of many similar establishments: conversion to a bingo hall!
The town of Keighley was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Cichhelai, meaning Cyhha’s farm or clearing. Keighley was incorporated into the borough of Bradford in 1974, much to the disquiet of some of its citizens, who saw this as a ‘take over’. Following protests, it was granted its own Town Council in 2002. It is one of the few outlying Bradford districts to have retained its own cinema, and without a brief period of closure in the 1990s to enable extensive roof repairs, it would have been one of the oldest picture houses in continuous operation in the UK.
Following substantial refurbishment over the years, Keighley Picture House now has two screens and comfortable red velvet pullman seats. The interior retains its traditional feel, full of character, and a million miles away from the soulless multiplexes of today, yet with all the benefits of modern technology, including Dolby surround sound and air conditioning. The beautiful screen curtains are rainbow-coloured, the friendly staff dispense goodies from the kiosk, and there is also a tea and coffee lounge.
Situated on one of the main roads through Keighley, the cinema is easy to find, and open seven days a week. It shows all the latest films and on-screen events, with family matinees and autism-friendly screenings. The cinema also hosts the local film club, and is even available for hire, with or without the adjacent function room.
Address: North Street, Keighley, BD21 3SL, www.nm-cinemas.co.uk, +44 (0)1535 602561
Getting there: Bus 622 or 662 from Bradford City Centre; by car via the A 629, with a public car park across the road on Scott Street
Hours: Check website for screening times
Tip: Nearby Cliffe Castle Museum houses natural history and geology galleries alongside art and stained-glass displays in a fine Victorian setting within a public park
Article taken from ‘111 Places in Bradford That You Shouldn’t Miss‘ by Cath Muldowney
images: Cath Muldowney/Emons Verlag