Help restore cinema to its former glory

Community leaders in Pontefract have clubbed together in the hope of restoring the town’s former Crescent cinema.

More than 70 people attended a public meeting hosted by Pontefract Civic Society last month as the group looks for people’s ideas on the future use of the Ropergate building.

The cinema has not been used since it closed in 1993 but the group wants to restore it with money from grants.

Martin Lodge, vice chairman of the civic society, said: “All of this campaign started by a post on the internet asking what people want to do with it and it really took off. We had a great response so we contacted the owners to see if we could arrange a visit.

“It was literally like someone shut the door 22 years ago and no-one has been in since which is a shame.

“The Crescent is one of the first buildings people see when they come into Pontefract and first impressions count for a lot.”

The group said it also hopes to open up the facility to theatre groups in the town as part of its plans.

Mr Lodge said: “The idea is to show old films and try and create something which can be a resource for the town.

“Pontefract lacks performance space and places where groups can rehearse so that would be another benefit to getting the building revamped.”

The group has held two meetings about its plans but is now looking to hear from more people in the town.

Mr Lodge said: “This wonderful building is going to rack and ruin and we want to restore it to its former position in the town.

“It is not about making it something to compete with other venues. There is a great need for it and if delivered in the right way it could be a great success.”

The Crescent Cinema is on the corner of Ropergate and Front Street and was designed by architects Garside and Pennington.

It opened on November 2, 1926 and within the complex was the 1,190 seat cinema which had a fully equipped stage with associated dressing rooms, a cafe and a substantial dance hall.

It has not been used since it closed in 1993.

Pontefract Civic Society now wants to hear people’s memories of the cinema and their ideas for the building’s future use.

Mr Lodge said: “We want people in Pontefract to be involved with the plans and would like to hear their ideas.

“We’d also like to hear people’s memories of the Crescent because we can get ideas from those too.”

For more information visit www.pontefractcivicsociety.org.uk