Going To The Pictures

The Lathom Hall Picture Palace


This building as with several of the old cinemas we will look at was not built as a purpose built cinema. It was built in 1884 as a social centre, and in June 1912 began to show motion pictures. It is noted that local newspapers announced that in order to exhibit motion pictures the hall had been transformed into “the most elaborate picture palace, with electric lighting” and for the safety of its patrons and in order to comply with the 1909 Cinamatograph Act had an entirely fireproof operating box to show the films from.
The Cinematograph Act had come about because film in those days was highly flammable and there had been several fires reported at places exhibiting films.

The opening performance was on Saturday 8th June 1912. It included ‘ A Red Cross Martyr’, ‘Burglar Proof Villa’ and ‘Her Saints Day’

The Motto of the management was “Come once and you’re a Regular Patron” which the management of the Lathom today still adhere to, and have a brass plaque on the wall upon entering the building.

Little is known about its short history as a Picture House and the project has not been able to find any existing archive photographs from this time. The building as it stands today is original and gives a sense of what it may have been like at the time.

Increased competition from other cinemas opening in the area brought about its closure and in 1916 The Lathom closed as a cinema.

The buildings later uses included an Icilma Face Cream factory, a stained glass window workshop a NAAFI Storeroom and after the war a school kitchen. In the 1950’s it became a dance hall and was later used as a Royal Naval Association club, The Lathom also had the Beatles play several times at the venue in 1960 under the name The Silver Beeats.

Today the venue has become a shrine to rock and roll and movie memorabilia. It is used as a social club and bar, housing a vast collection of original and reproduction memorabillia, props, manequins, with life size figures including Marylin Monroe, James Dean and The Beatles.

image below shows the interior of the Lathom as it is today
lathom interior 2012 web

Explore posts related to this cinema