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Childhood dreams up in smoke as Kings Heath cinema burns

Published: 17th September 2011 13:27
Its final film more than thirty years ago was a documentary called 'Encounter with Disaster".

Today the former Kingsway Cinema on the Parade, Kings Heath High Street was a smouldering ruin.  Locals watching the firefighters tackle the blaze reflected on childhood days when they say films there.

Kingsway cinema fire Kings Heath High Street BirminghamFormer Kings Heath Infants and Camp Hill pupil Jon Chatfield, on a fleeting visit to old haunts from his new home near Bordeaux was one of many saddened by the news.  Across the road the owner of BikePro said the Beatles played there once.

Although the current owners had applied for planning permission to turn the Kingsway into a restaurant and wedding venue, some locals had a dream it could be turned into a music venue - perhaps to help replace the Jug of Ale and follow the thriving development of the Hare and Hounds.

It had been the Gala Bingo Hall for 25 years (between 1982 and 2007), but most still called it the Kingsway.

Opened more than 85 years ago in 1925, the Kings Heath Kingsway was a mainstay of local entertainment for decades.  It was designed by Horace G Bradley - the same architect responsible for a number of Birmingham cinemas in the neo-classical style.

Sell-out screenings would take more than 1300 people, to enjoy many of the cinema greats in the heyday of film - and the Beatles!

Did the Fab Four once play there? Do you have memories of films seen there as a child? What should happen to the building now? You can add your comments below

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At 15:24 on 17th September 2011, xstitcher commented:
I remeber queuing up as a 13 year old to see a brand new film called......................Grease !!

It was a great cinema and I saw many films there - sad to see it end like this !

The Fab Four actually played at the 'Ritz' which was later turned into a Bingo Hall in York Road - my uncle went to see them !!
Alfred of Moseley
At 20:37 on 23rd September 2011, Alfred of Moseley commented:
Absolute tragedy..I grew up down Moor Green Lane and remember being taken to the Kingsway Picture House to see 'Jason and the Argonauts', way back in 1963 at the tender age of 8yrs old, after buying our sweets and Vimto from the 'eternal Darlastons' almost next door..Very fond memories..
At 20:31 on 1st April 2012, DEROYM commented:
The Beatles played the Ritz in the winter of 1963 (two weeks later than
their original booking date,this was due to very bad weather)
The queue to see them was so long,it went from the door at the Ritz
in York road round into Kings Heath street.The manager of the cinema in the 60s was called Ernie Dunnico. Kings heath was a lovely
place in the 60s,all the shop's had loads of character....and lots of
local characters as well!

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