Library Street, Wigan8 Comments
Item #: 27801
Located next to Wigan Town Hall. Opened in around 1908/1909 as the Coliseum Skating Rink, it could accommodate 5,000 roller skaters. By December 1909 some films were being screened in the building, and as the craze for roller skating waned, it was decided to converted the building into a cinema.
Opened on around the 24th February 1910 as the Pavilion Cinema, seating was provided for 5,000, probably on long wooden benches, with a further 2,000 allowed to stand. It was equipped with a Jardin organ at some point of time.
Regular cinema tip-up seats were later installed and the seating capacity was reduced to 2,000. In 1930, a Western Electric sound system was installed. The Jardin organ was removed from the building sometime during the 1930’s.
The Pavilion Cinema was closed in 1957, and was demolished to build the towns' new swimming baths, recently known as Wigan International Swimming Pool.
I have fond memories of the `Pav`.
In the summer, we in the Wigan and District Mining and Technical College next door, having the windows open, could hear the sound track of the film being shown.
I think that the organ in the `Pav` was upstairs and to the left of the screen. The upstairs gallery had a nickname which I can`t remember, could it be the monkey rack? - perhaps some wiganworld viewer knows.
I recollect it being called the monkey rack, Ernest. As far as I can remember,the upstairs encircled the whole interior of the cinema. It had a ranking with The Palace, & The Empire, and just one step up was The Prince's. The classy ones, were The County, The Court Cinema, and The Ritz.
I too have fond memories of the Pav. The balcony ran across the back and down either side ,I don,t recall many people choosing a side view. I do recall just after the war some Russian Cossacks giving a show there.The only time I saw anything but films there.
I remember on each side of the screen there was a big painting of a galleon. Everyone of a certain age will remember George, the infamous Pav doorman.
'Fraid I only remember the bad smell emanating from the inside when walking past! I vaguely remember an old chap with a flat cap on his head!
I remember going here as a child around 1958. Also I remember a mine was found under the foundations when it was demolished
5,000 roller-skaters ? Hells Bells, There wouldn't be much room left to swing a cat - or even a kitten !
I remember George the doorman, Kids drove him daft, they would shout Georgie Porgie from one side of the stalls & he would go running over but by the time he got there kids would shout from the other side, Poor sod didn,t know where he was. I remember seeing him in Goose green Labour club years later.