Keswick Alhambra Cinema

Keswick Alhambra Cinema

Keswick Alhambra Cinema

The Alhambra Cinema in Keswick has been entertaining audiences since 1914.

Until the 1980s, it was still lit by gas.

The first films were brought here before the 1st World war by fair showmen in halls such as the Victoria Hall in Borrowdale, Lake Road, and the Pavilion in Station Street.

On May 27th, 1913, The Keswick Alhambra Theatre Co. Limited was formed and registered with £2000 capital to “ acquire certain houses and lands in St John Street and to carry on the business of theatre, music hall and exhibitions of motion pictures”.

It was a private company with between four and eight directors.

The imposing building was completed by Christmas 1913, and thus arose what was known as The Alhambra Picture Theatre.

Mr J. H. Denwood, a US cinema exhibitor in the 1900s, had returned to this country in 1912.

He lived in Oak House on Church Street in Keswick, just a stone’s throw from the Alhambra.

He managed the hall and arranged the grand opening for the 22nd January 1914 with the showing of ‘Quo Vadis’ a silent film’.

The distinctive red bricks on the frontage of the Alhambra were obtained from Accrington and are known for their strength.

Keswick Alhambra Cinema

Incidentally, the bricks are also to be found in the foundations of Blackpool Tower.

There is an interesting anecdote about the naming of the bricks: being iron hard, they were supposed to be called IRON bricks and this was duly inscribed on the mould.

However, it was completely forgotten that the name would be reversed in the moulded bricks, hence they came out as NORI, and have been known by this name ever since.

Before the declaration of war in August 1914, there was one show daily with two changes of programme weekly.

There was seating for 595 people. Licences were held for music, dancing and cinematography.

Variety acts performed on the stage, with a small orchestra or pianist playing the accompaniment.

The Alhambra was clearly never intended for larger shows as it only had two small dressing rooms for the artists underneath the stage.

In the summer of 2019, the Alhambra was once again restored to its former glory through a partial crowd-funded renovation.

Keswick Alhambra Cinema

In 2021 a second screen was built under the balcony and a new ticketing/bar area was created through generous donations.

With the second screen, a far wider range of films can be offered to make the prospects of a second century of operation in Keswick look bright.

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June 3rd
(4 nights)

Telephone: 07785944194