Express & Star

Historic Black Country cinema to rise from ashes after fire

The plaster may be coming off the walls and rubbish is strewn across the broken floor panels – but this former Black Country cinema is destined to be restored to its former glory.

Adam Cunard, managing director of Picturedrome Cinemas, outside Gaumont Cinema in Wednesbury

The Gaumont Cinema in Wednesbury was once a 900-seater five-screen venue, but a fire three years ago has left it in a sorry state.

It is undergoing a major refurbishment as part of a £2million investment and when complete will look to create 30 new jobs.

Independent chain Picturedrome Cinemas has now provided a look inside the currently derelict site which shows the scale of the work-load ahead.

Managing director Adam Cunard said the work to reopen the venue was in its early stages but support had already come in from the community.

He said: “It’s just about finding the right location, it’s a nice town, there’s quite a lot of independent shops. Hopefully it will revitalise the town as well.”

It comes as the work was announced in August with the venue expected to re-open next summer. The company said the building would retain its appearance inside and out ‘as much as possible’ and vied to keep its Art Deco features.

Councillor Peter Hughes said: “This was the second time we have had a chance to look inside, obviously they’re doing some work in there.

“I was able to go right up to the old room where they did the projection, it was quite an experience.

“From the conversations I have had with local people they’re really looking forward to it.

“For a local councillor who was born and bred in Wednesbury and used the cinema as a lad it’s fantastic.”

It comes as the development site was allegedly targeted on Wednesday in a suspected break-in.

The pictures published today show the hallmarks of the site in its glory days underneath damage amassed over years of disuse.

The company also said they would work to keep prices low with £2.50 admission for everyone during weekdays and £3.50 at weekends.

Most recently used as a bingo hall, the venue was a cinema until the 1970s.