Former malt house set to open as new Wirksworth cinema

New cinema opens in Derbyshire town

A community cinema built in a former malt house is set to open its doors to the public.

The Northern Light is the first picture house to open in the Peak District town of Wirksworth since the last one closed in 1967.

The last cinema in Wirksworth

  • Wirksworth Cinema opened in 1935 and had 525 seats
  • It closed in April 1960 but reopened in July with the Frank Sinatra film Never So Few
  • The last film to be shown was Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD, starring Peter Cushing, in April 1967
  • It was a bingo hall for a number of years before becoming a warehouse

The auditorium has one screen with a capacity of 52, with vintage sofas, and rows of original 1930s seating.

Manager Paul Carr said he hoped it would bring the town together to watch a range of films.

He said: "When we first announced the idea I had someone cross the road to give me a hug. There's such an appetite for it."

However, some local people had objected to its location in the residential street, in North End, and were concerned over parking problems and noise.

The cinema exterior The Northern Light is the first picture house to open in Wirksworth since the last one closed in 1967
The old cinema The old cinema is now a builder's merchants
Esther Patterson sitting in 1930s cinema seats The town's community helped manager Paul Carr and his wife Esther with the cinema's decor
Opening night at the cinema Mr Carr says there is a big appetite in the town for the new venue

"There has been understandably some concerns from neighbours," said Mr Carr.

"But six months down the line when they realise it's not going to be quite as impactful, they fear it's going to be, hopefully they'll be coming in and watching a film with us."

A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando, will be the first film to be shown in memory of an event 60 years ago, according to Mr Carr.

"We're trying to recreate a classic photo of the original cinema in [Wirksworth], taken in 1952, where there were huge queues outside to see the film," he said.

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