His Buildings - The Royalty Harborne

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Horace G Bradley - His Buildings

Our volunteers are starting to collate information on the history. Here some information on the architect which was supplied by Acocks Green Local History Society.

He is probably best remembered, however, as the architect of several Birmingham cinemas. An article in The Cinema on April 24 1924 stated:
"Among the list of architects who have contributed materially to the progress of British cinematography by building beautiful and attractive cinemas must be included Mr. Horace G. Bradley, of 10A Temple Row, Birmingham. Mr. Bradley has to his credit - among other fine structures - the Broadway Cinema and the Coronet, two of the landmarks of the industry in Birmingham".

During his career he was responsible for:
The Windsor, Bearwood Road, Bearwood, Smethwick

Opened 29 September 1930

Located in the district of Bearwood, just to the south of Smethwick, west of Birmingham. The Windsor Theatre stood on a corner site at Bearwood Road and Dunsford Road, adjacent to the Coliseum Cinema which was closed on 27th September 1930. It was opened 29th September 1930 with Bessie Love in “Chasing Rainbows”. It was built for and operated by Hewitson’s Ltd., who also operated the Coliseum Cinema. Seating was provided in stalls and circle levels. The proscenium was 45 feet wide, the stage 25 feet deep, and there were eight dressing rooms. It was equipped with a British Thomson Houston(BTH) sound system. It was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/8Ranks organ, which was opened by organist Reginald Maynard. The theatre also boasted a cafe for the convenience of its patrons.

As well as films, variety acts were part of the programming in the early days, and after World War II had ended, it became a full time live theatre. The final production was the pantomime “Mother Goose” starring Dave Starr which ran for six weeks, and closed the Windsor Theatre on 6th February 1960. The Compton organ was removed from the building and installed in Oxley Parish Church, Wolverhampton.

The building stood empty and unused for several years, and was then converted into an ice rink. This was closed in 1973 and the building again remained unused until 1980, when it became a nightclub. This was to be a short lived venture, which closed in 1982. It was then converted into a snooker club, which continues today.

Contributed by Ken Roe

This has been an interesting building but its present state is disappointing. Built in 1930 as a cinéariety, it has suffered a succession of alterations over the last three or four decades, mostly to its detriment. It operated mainly as a full-time cinema until 1946, when it became a variety theatre. In 1957 it was a repertory theatre but closed in 1960, to reopen three years later as a skating rink. It is now a snooker hall. Built on the corner of Bearwood Road and Dunsford Road it is faced with brick and stone. There is a short tower on the corner, which contains the entrance. Stage with fly tower. Auditorium now has a flat floor and is divided horizontally by a false ceiling. Above this, the single balcony still exists, as does the oval-domed ceiling. Re-establishment of live theatre, if the demand arose would no doubt be possible, especially if the stage could be extended over land at the rear.

Courtesy Theatres Trust www.theatrestrust.org.uk

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