The Brumtography Facebook group had a photo meet on the 20th January 2020 at The Electric Cinema on Station Street (opposite Birmingham New Street Station). We were there for over an hour or so. Exploring screens 1 and 2, the remains of the old curtain of the Tatler News Theatre, old reels of film in the basement and the old projection room. Plenty to see in this small cinema. Opened 1909.

Related View community

The Electric Cinema: A Brumtography photo meet (January 2020)





The Brumtography Facebook group had a photo meet on the 20th January 2020 at The Electric Cinema on Station Street (opposite Birmingham New Street Station). We were there for over an hour or so. Exploring screens 1 and 2, the remains of the old curtain of the Tatler News Theatre, old reels of film in the basement and the old projection room. Plenty to see in this small cinema. Opened 1909.


On Monday 20th January 2020, about 10 members of the Brumtography Facebook group met at The Electric for a photo meet organised by Karl Newton (who contacted them and got permission from them). We did initially meet in the foyer thinking that a member of staff would take us around, but in the end, they let us go around on our own. Although Karl had been before so knew his way around.

The Electric Cinema

Some history. The Electric opened in 1909, and showed it's first silent film that year on the 27th December 1909. It is the oldest working cinema in the UK, predating it's namesake in Notting Hill, London (also called the Electric Cinema), by two months. Over the last century or so, the cinema has undergone several name changes, but reverted back t The Electric in October 1993.

In the 1920s the cinema was bought out and became known as The Select, showing silent movies. In the 1930s Joseph Cohen bought the cinema, and by the late 1930s it was renamed to the Tatler News Theatre, where they showed Pathe rolling news, along with short films and cartoons. Jacey Cinemas Ltd was the name of Joseph Cohen's company after his initials JC. 

Afte the War, TV started to become popular, and in the 1950s it's name was changed to The Jacey Cartoon Theatre. By the 1960s it was renamed to The Jacey Film Theatre. By the 1970s the cinema was in decline, showing adult films. In the 1980s it was taken over by Lord Grade's "Classic" chain and split into two screens. By the mid 1980s it was now known as the Tivoli.

It was only by 1993 when the new owners renamed it back to it's original name of The Electric. Restoration took place between 2003 and 2004. It's original Art Deco features were restored. The Electric celebrated it's Centenary in 2009. And received a history plate from the Birmingham Civic Society in 2016.


So a reminder of the cinemas names: The Electric Theatre, The Select, The Tatler News Theatre, The Jacey, The Classic and The Tivoli. Before reverting back to The Electric Cinema.

 

This view of The Electric, from near the taxi rank at Birmingham New Street Station. There is a glass balcony railing, and I headed right and down the Southside Steps.

The Box Office. Buy your tickets here. There is also a bar to the left where you can buy drinks and food, no popcorn here.

Screen 1 is downstairs. With red seats at the front, and black leather sofas at the back. Is a piano / organ on the stage.

Behind screen 1 is the remains of the Tatler News Theatre of the 1930s and 1940s. The old screen used to be here. You can see the old curtains and various old posters. Including a poster for Xmas cartoons. Probably classic Disney cartoons.

Back in screen 1 from the stage.

Down to the basement, where they have a large collection of old film reels. Probably dating back decades.

Ticket prices back in the day were quite cheap compared to today.  Some smaller films on these shelves.

Into the old projection room, first thing I saw was BB8 from the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, and a trophy.

The old projector. To the right is the modern additions of the newer digital technology. So they don't need to use the old reels of film any more.

Upstairs to screen 2. A bit darker in here, even after the lights were turned on.

This screen has black leather sofas at the top and bottom.

Outside screen 2 is a gallery of art, which is apparently for sale. Some of the prints were done by Milan Topalović, who you may recall also did art for The Big Hoot (at Birmingham New Street Station in 2015) and The Big Sleuth (at Resorts World Birmingham in 2017).

Back outside after the end of the meet, saw a reflection of The Electric in the shiny panels of Birmingham New Street Station. At the time the sign below said UNCUT GEMS.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020