This film is part of Free

Grand Finale

A nostalgic look inside the old and crumbling Grand Theatre of Union Street in Plymouth.

News 1962 2 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


A not quite so grand look at the Grand Theatre on Plymouth’s Union Street. The Italianate theatre with ornate decor was commissioned by Henry Reed and built by local architect Henry John Snell in just 16 weeks in 1889. Reed was unable to secure the lease of the original Theatre Royal following the death of his father-in-law, J R Newcombe and opened the Grand to rival the Royal. The Foresters Arms Pub next door was licensed in his wife's name.

By 1909 it was renamed the Three Towns New House of Pictures and Vaudeville receiving a cinema licence in 1930. The Grand Theatre was showing films during the Second World War when it was destroyed during the Plymouth Blitz in March 1941 and although it received planning permission to be rebuilt it was used for a variety of purposes including boatbuilding until it was finally demolished in 1963 a year after this film was made. The only features which remain are the green gold and brown ceramic tile facade of entrance which hark back to its days of former glory. The pub has been closed since 1992. A regeneration of the area around Union Street, which use to be the go-to for a night out in the city, is underway.