It opened in 1920 and was near the bus terminus at West Didsbury just before Palatine Road crosses Lapwing Lane.
It was not the most attractive building and had nothing of the charm or elegance of other cinemas which were built at the same time.
To be honest it was a brick slab adorned at either side by a stone faced entrance.
That said it could seat 1,034 people and had a cafe which was important enough to be included in the name of the cinema.
And apart from the Scala was all there was unless you headed into Chorlton or Didsbury.
Now I did struggle at first to locate it because there was no address on any of the pictures I came across, and even Derek Southall in his book on Manchester’s cinemas omitted to say exactly where it was on Palatine Road.*
Not only did I discover it was somewhere they played regularly but also that it was near the West Didsbury Bus terminus.
Of course it has long gone and the clue to its departure comes in the picture which is dated 1960 and has that sign announcing “CLOSED THIS CINEMA HAS BEEN SOLD.”
So I never knew the place, never bought a ticket to sit in the dark or munched my way through one of its sandwiches.
But I bet there will be someone who does. And so in that time honoured catch phrase, “watch this spot.”
Picture; The Palatine Picture House and Cafe, 1960, J F Harris, mo9250, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass
*The Golden Years of Manchester Picture Houses, Derek Southall, http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/index.php/the-golden-years-of-manchesters-picture-houses.html