OLD DEVONPORT . UK
www.olddevonport.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 14, 2016.
Webpage updated: March 14, 2016

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COLISEUM PICTURE PALACE

When a new licence for the Cinema Picture Palace in Saint Aubyn Street, Devonport, was issued on October 17th 1912, the name was recorded as the Colliseum (sic) Picture Palace.  The licence was in the names of Mr William Henry Hobbs and Mr Michael Stein.

In fact, as it transpired later, Mr Stein had been granted a sub-lease of the premises on July 29th 1912, by which time it would appear to have already been renamed.  He obtained a new projector from the Cinema Supply Company but it was unsatisfactory.  However, he did not return it immediately to the manufacturer, something which not only cost him money but probably caused his downfall.

So much of Plymouth's cinema history went unreported at the time and one such event was the closure of the Coliseum Picture Palace.  It has been alleged that it went up in flames during 1914 but it may have had a less spectacular ending.

It will be recalled from earlier that its licensee had bought a projector that proved unsatisfactory.   Instead of returning it promptly he seems to have kept it.  This may help to explain why his takings declined and according to his public bankruptcy hearing in December 1914, he had lost 7 per week during the first six to seven months, totalling 196.  It turned out that Mr Stein was in fact a hat and cap manufacturer of 21 Saint Aubyn Street who had taken up the lease on the cinema as a way of funding his debts in that business.  At the end of the first 46 weeks of the venture the cinema was taken over by his wife and three of his six children.  As no report of the alleged fire has yet come to light, it may be that the cinema simply closed down through financial difficulties.  It was certainly no longer licensed after that year.

The site was later occupied by the Midland Garage, then the Tamar Motor Garage, later still the Exeter Tyre Company and finally the Saint Aubyn Engineering & Motor Company.