The Picture Palace

The Picture Palace.
The Picture Palace Abertillery was situated at the junction of King Street and Carmel Street Abertillery.

The Building and Equipment Corporation Ltd.
In May 1911 a company called the Building and Equipment Corporation Ltd produced plans for a new picture palace which was to be built at Abertillery, the plans were presented to the council by Mr H. D. Blessley.

On Monday 30th November 1911 the Building and Equipment Corporation Ltd Company held a meeting in Cardiff where they announced that the tender for the construction of the proposed picture palace was granted to Messrs W. Williams and Sons of New Tredegar and that they will commence the building within the next week.
                           
The Building and Equipment Corporation Ltd Company.
The company consisted of Mr J. E. Williams (Pengam) Managing Director; Mr H. G. J. Griffin, Stockbroker (Cardiff) Co-Director; Mr Percy Frowen (of Messrs P. Wilson Raffan & Co Ltd Newport) Co-Director:

In March 1912 the company advertised for a cashier, two female attendants and a pianist, references to Mr Percy Frowen Co Ltd of 19 Corn Street Newport.

The Construction of the Picture Palace.
The palace was built and showing pictures all within 4 months!…Its construction was even delayed as of the difficulty in getting heavy equipment into the town and through the narrow streets. The seating capacity was for 800 persons and was said that it a place of entertainment for the people on a scale never before attempted outside of large towns. The chaste and elegant wall panellings and ceiling decorations, the handsomely upholstered seats provided and the exquisite fittings are sufficient proof of the aim of the management to make the hall one of the best in South Wales. At this time arrangements were being made to secure some of the best films available.

The Contractor and Architect.
The contractor was Messrs W. Williams and Sons of New Tredegar.

The Official Opening.
On Wednesday 24th April 1912 at 2.30pm was the official opening.  The first film shown at the Picture Palace was “The Run On The Bank” it depicted how a young girl, the daughter of the bank manager, together with her lover, saved her father from ruin by checking the run on the bank. At the close of the performance Mr T. A. Prichard proposed, and Mr J. Emlyn seconded a vote of thanks to the management. The turn out for the first showing on that day was not very good as the weather was too nice. The takings for the first day was £17. 1s. 9d. equivalent to £1,750,00 in today’s money.  Because of the poor turn out for the afternoon showing the management decided to donate all of the days takings to the Local Distress Fund and not just the afternoons takings as advertised.

The Extensions and Alterations.
In March 1926 it was reported that the proprietors of the Palace Palace, Abertillery had some time ago purchased property at the rear of the premises with the intention of extending the building. Plans were deposited with the Monmouthshire County Council of the alterations and extensions. It was stated the seating accommodation was to be doubled, the main entrance which was originally on the corner of King Street and Carmel Street would be moved to the other end of the cinema at Carmel Street. There were additional exits provided all around the building which was to be made completely detached. There was also a glass veranda planned to be put in place over the main entrance in Carmel Street to provide shelter for the queues. It was intended that the work was to be completed by August 1926 and the plans could be viewed in the window of Mr W. H. Hiley, auctioneer, Carmel Street, Abertillery.

The Later Years.
The Picture Palace closed as a cinema in the mid 1970’s and the building was turned into a Bingo Hall. In the late 1980’s it was purchased by a business consortium and converted into the Imperial Snooker Club, a snooker club with a licensed bar, lounge and a hall containing 16 snooker tables partitioned off from the lounge by glass panelling. 

It closed as a snooker club in the late 1990’s and turned into a night club, it was later known as The Auberge and Hooters, it later closed, was demolished in 2015 and the area cleared.  The council turned the site into a car-park.

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