Former Ritz cinema. 1938 by Reginald William Gaze Cooper of Nottingham. Brick with contrasting area of glazed faience tile cladding surrounding main entrance and on tower feature. Roof hidden from street elevations. Wedge-shaped plan, incorporating shop premises on South Street façade.
EXTERIOR: Composition in moderne styling influenced by contemporary `Odeon' cinemas, derived from German examples of the twenties. Streamlined effect in large window above entrance achieved by use of exaggerated transoms. Rounded glazed stair tower turning corner on left of entrance, tower `fin' feature rising above adjacent roofs on right with balancing corner also rounded, incorporating streamlined windows at ground and first floor levels. Channelled brickwork on upper part of fin. Canopy over entrance continues around right-hand corner (profile altered). False screen wall above lock-up shop with advertising display panel and four supporting linear symmetrical concrete mouldings.
INTERIOR: Entrance foyer with three sets of original double doors to auditorium. Long double-height auditorium narrowing at stage end with fibrous plaster decoration on walls and ceiling in both streamlined moderne and Art Deco styling. Ante-proscenium splay walls carry three bands of elaborate Art Deco plasterwork (separated by mouldings) to conceal ventilation extract ducts. These bands are extended back as streamlining (derived from Erich Mendelsohn's Universum Cinema, Berlin, of 1928) to a false proscenium. Upper part of auditorium walls decorated in staggered panels with Art Deco mouldings loosely based on Chinoiserie design in Berlin theatres of the twenties by Oscar Kaufmann. Ceiling above ante-proscenium splay decorated with radiating panels of Art Deco fibrous plasterwork. Remaining ceiling treated as a descending sequence of coves with more fibrous plaster decoration. Balcony soffit has coved cornices for lighting and further Art Deco style fibrous plaster panels. Unusually spacious vomitory (with streamlined handrails) in balcony, divided to form entrance and exit routes. Two sets of original doors from upper foyer into vomitory. For bingo operation the original raked stalls floor has been replaced by two flat terraces for tables and fixed bench seating, likewise new suspended lighting fixtures installed. However, original seating survives in the circle, and the original offices and projection suite also survive.
ANALYSIS: Recommended as a remarkably complete example of a fine cinema of the 1930s, the exterior `show' elevations an exercise in converging mass and streamlining in the `Odeon' manner, the interior with much Art Deco fibrous plasterwork. Reginald Cooper is recognised as one of the most important provincial architects working the cinema genre, and this is perhaps his finest surviving work. It became a bingo hall after June 1968.
Allen Eyles, Reginald W Cooper of Nottingham', in Picture House, no. 8, Spring 1986, pp.16-25
Richard Gray, Cinemas in Britain, London, Lund Humphries, 1996, p.113
Listing NGR: SK4651941577