This film is part of Free

Plymouth's Gaumont Cinema Closure

Gaumont closes to install automated projection-room.

Current affairs 1961 6 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


The Gaumont Palace on Union Street in Plymouth is closing its doors for refurbishment. Manager Mr Edwards explains the change from super cinema to modern semi-automated mixed-use venue, complete with new ballroom. The Art Deco cinema opened in November 1931 with 1460 plush velvet seats in the stalls and 790 in the circle and used to be a popular night out. One of the five projectionists Mr Leacey recalls his first film, Walter Forde's comedy thriller The Ghost Train (1931).

At this time, a projectionist's job was changing from classical lacing up of multiple film reels alternating between projectors to one of automation allowing long play of single roll films on one projector with the possibility of pre-programming. The job could now be carried out by one person. Film moved away from nitrate base to celluloid and the film show lost its live organ playing. The cinema reopened after six months as an Odeon operated by the Rank Organisation and closed in April 1980. It reopened as the Boulevard Nightclub in 1987 and later became the Millennium Complex. After closing in 2004 the building was added to Historic England's at risk register and from 2013 is owned by a religious TV channel.