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The Princess Cinema, 168 - 170 North Promenade, Blackpool

Formerly - The Swiss Roller Rink / The Princess Electric Theatre - Later - ABC / Bizness Nightclub / Waterfront Nightclub / Sanuk Nightclub / Barvarian

Blackpool Theatres Index - Blackpool Theatres Article by Donald Auty

The former Princess Cinema, Blackpool in August 2012 - Photo M. L.

Above - The former Princess Cinema, Blackpool in August 2012 - Photo M. L.

An advertisement for the soon to be opened Princess Electric Theatre, Blackpool - From the Fleetwood Express, 4th of December 1912.The crumbling but interesting facade of the building currently called Barvarian which is situated on the North Promenade, Blackpool originally opened as the Princess Electric Theatre on the 12th of December 1912. It was a conversion of the former Swiss Roller Rink which had itself opened a few years earlier in 1909.

Right - An advertisement for the soon to be opened Princess Electric Theatre, Blackpool - From the Fleetwood Express, 4th of December 1912.

The Blackpool Gazette & Herald reported briefly on the opening of the Princess Electric Theatre in their 13th of December 1912 edition saying:- 'Yesterday, the Princess Electric Theatre, Metropole Buildings, North Promenade, was opened, and it represented the last word in picture theatre luxury. Messrs. Horsley and Ward, the enterprising proprietors, are to be congratulated on the success of a unique transformation of the old "Swiss" rink into a modern entertainment house. The well-sprung, comfortable tip-up chairs, a thick pile carpet, and ornate surroundings are gratifying features which must conduce lo the comfort of the patron. And in addition there is the most up-to-date machinery for film showing, which gives a bright, steady and flickerless picture. All these things were favourably commented upon yesterday afternoon, when the opening exhibition was given before a large and representative audience, who thoroughly enjoyed a varied programme. The lighting is by Mr. W. Fielding, heating by Messrs. Lawrence and Co., and the luxurious furnishings by Bickerstaffe, Ltd. Henceforward there will be two exhibitions daily.' - The Blackpool Gazette & Herald, 13th of December 1912.

The former Princess Cinema, Blackpool and in the distance, the Blackpool Tower - Photo M. L.

Above - The former Princess Cinema, Blackpool and in the distance, the Blackpool Tower - Photo M. L.

A Google StreetView Image of the former Princess Electric Theatre, Blackpool in January 2021 - Click to Interact.This early Blackpool Cinema seated 905 people when it first opened but it was later enlarged to the designs of Halstead Best, and then reopened as the much larger Princess Cinema on the 10th of July 1922 with seating for 1,770 people.

Right - A Google StreetView Image of the former Princess Electric Theatre, Blackpool in January 2021 - Click to Interact.

The Cinema was taken over by ABC in 1929 but was closed by them in 1981. The building then went into decline when it was used for a succession of Nightclubs, Club Sanuk seems to have been the last of these. At the time of writing in January 2022 the building is borded up having recently been used a Beer Keller called Barvarian. Despite a recently new roof the rest of the building is looking pretty sorry for itself.

There is a very nice photograph of the former Princess Cinema in 1963 here.

Some of the information on this page was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures website.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

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