The Royalty Theatre, Birmingham
On a bleak February morning we trudged through the Birmingham rain and made our way inside this long out of use Cinema. Typical of its design of the time we were greeted with a cacophony of colours from brilliant red walls to guilded gold ornate designs in the main theatre hall. For sure it has seen better days. Its splendid art deco interior starting to decay and look all too tired.
Hurriedly taking our photographs we covered part of the building but we were interupted by workmen who had come inside to do some work in the stage area. Hiding behind top tier seats proved fruitless after a few minutes so we made ourselves known and they seemed none to bothered that we were there.
However some minutes later whilst photographing in one of the foyer's the main doors opened downstairs and we could hear the sound of a barking dog running up the stairs....upon seeing us the dog true to its job description made sure we didn't move from our spot huddled against a wall and took a couple of nips out of one of my companions arms! behind it were the police who probably recieved a call to say people had been seen entering in to the building. They duly escorted us out after several minutes of questions and answers. They could see we were no doing any harm and merely there to take photographs but our explore was cut short none-the-less!
Not many images to show but enough to get an idea of this grand building. Maybe one day it will be restored and re opened as some kind of leisure facility as it would be a shame for all that magnificent history and architecture to just go to ruin.
History [not much can be found on this place unfortunately]
The Royalty Cinema was designed by Birmingham architect Horace G Bradley, with Kingsway completed in 1925 and the Royalty opened in 1929 during the first great wave of cinema building with Maurice Chevalier in "The Love Parade". It was built for and operated by the local independent Selly Oak Pictures Ltd. It would have been packed with audiences eager to see the latest silent, black and white features of the day featuring the likes of Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin.
The Cinema was taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain in March 1935. ABC closed the cinema on 2nd November 1963 with Cliff Robertson in "P.T.109". It was converted into a Mecca Bingo Club, and in 2010 it operated as a Gala Bingo Club.
The 1920s-built cinema was described as ‘stunning’ and worthy of a legal preservation order by the city council’s Conservation and Heritage Panel as it boasts a ‘high quality Art Deco interior’ according to experts.
In the summer of 2011, the Royalty Cinema was designated a Grade II Listed building by English Heritage