Feature - The Hyde Park Picture House.

Secrets of a true Leeds treasure revealed.
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Post by Tasa »

th3g wrote: I signed up just to leave a message on this thread.I was at university in Leeds and lived just round the corner with my girlfriend. We made many visits to the Hyde Park Picture House.The day before christmas eve one year when Hyde Park was pretty deserted as most students had gone home, we went to see It's a Wonderful Life. She had never seen it and loved it.As we left the cinema after the film it began to snow, possibly one of the most romantic moments of my life. What a lovely memory to have, and thanks for taking the trouble to sign up to share it with us. It's a special place and quite an anomaly in these days of multiplex cinemas - I suspect it survives largely because of a constantly changing population in the area who appreciate it as a unique place! I grew up just a few streets away, so it featured constantly in my formative years, firstly as I went to the Saturday Matinees as a child in the late 1960s, then cult films such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Mel Brooks films like Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles in the 1970s. I also saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show there for the first and many subsequent times!I hope your memory of the Hyde Park Picture House survives as long as the cinema does!

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Post by jdbythesea »

I remember going to the pictures twice a week as a teenager back in the early 60s - TV came in a poor second back then. The Hyde Park was a favourite location; it was so intimate and fairly cheap compared to the Lounge, Cottage Road and Lyceum. Got off the bus on Cardigan Road and walked down Brudenell Road to the cinema. I recall cigarette smoke always wafting around in the projection lights and the occasional reel breakdown when the lights would come on and take some by surprise (how embarrassing). I remember the old gas lights and the National Anthem at the end and the stampede of folk trying to get out before it began. I must have seen I don't know how many films there over the years from 1960 to about 1965. Fish n chips on the way back - what bliss!

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Post by irfan2011 »

Good picture. I love it.
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Post by LizzieR »

It was my great privilege to work at the HPPH as General Manager in the early 90s. The team and I changed the programming and set it on the road to being Leeds' best little art-house. I adored the place and seeing the photos on this thread has brought back so many wonderful memories. I know exactly what Wendy means when she says she doesn't listen to the spooky tales.. because I know there is truth in them, and when you're there on your own it can get to you if you let it!! For all that, it is a wonderful, nay, glorious, building and an absolute joy. More power to Wendy and the team, their love for the cinema is obvious.

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Post by Cardiarms »

Hi Lizzie, I saw the worst film of my life at the HPPH about then. It was called Day Dream Believer IIRC and featured Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, an abused girl who reverted to horse behaviour at times of stress and a car chase involving a bucket of frozen horse sperm, in australia. Never mind, it was pound night and the girl I was with was lovely. Cheers. :-D

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Post by Jogon »

CoincidentallyThe last film I saw there few months back is on BBC FOUR 9pm tonight:-'My Dog Tulip' animation of JR Ackerley's dog memoir.Dog folk might appeciate. A 4/10 from me.I'm hooked on Chomet's lovely animations, far better seen on big screen. The Illusionist:-http://youtu.be/mPdLrxxo4mg

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Post by PaulW »

My first visit to the Hyde Park came in the winter of 1946-47 when a school pal said he was going to see a Tarzan film and would I like to go with him.It was to be the first visit of many. With my first girl friend I saw Walt Disney's 'Treasure Island' there - in 1951 I think.I recall the place being packed out for 'Annie Get Your Gun' in February 1951.And I recall forsaking the joys of Mischief Night to see Paul Robeson in 'Sanders of the River' - and never regretting the choice.My abiding memory is of a roaring coal fire in the lobby and the sight of the commissionaire invariably warming his backside.    

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Post by tilly »

Hi Paul W Welcome to Secret Leeds look forward to more of your input on the site.    
No matter were i end my days im an Hunslet lad with Hunslet ways.

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Post by Jogon »

Hello PaulLiked the sound of the coal fires, I love that smell.This link might be useful to SL viewers. http://www.hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk/filmcalendar.php

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Post by Magpie »

The Hyde Picture House (or the Flea Pit, as it was indeed known), was a major element of my childhood. The Saturday Matinee used to cost 2p and for that you'd get a few cartoons and a main feature (a Children's Film Foundation effort, very popular back then). I lived mainly in Mayville Road, but my auntie lived in Pearson Grove directly behind it, so there a bit of a routine going at the time.As a teenager, I lived in a bedsit on Chestnut Avenue (one of the houses at the top facing down the hill) and often went to late night screenings of The Blues Brothers. A couple of special memories:In the late 80s, billed as "the last ever showing in a British cinema", was "Casablanca". I'm led to believe this hype proved incorrect, although I wonder if was the last showing of an original print of the film. Still, it was a great event.And a few years ago I went to see the UK premiere of an indie movie called "Bubba Ho-Tep" during the Leeds Film Festival. The art director on that film is a Philadelphian-born chap who happens to be my (failry distant) cousin, whose ancestry is based in that part of Leeds. He was really pleased to hear of the choice of location for the premiere!Incidentally, I was told by my Grandmother that for a long time it was used as a bingo hall, although I couldn't put a date on that. My guess is the late 40s to sometime in the 50s. Maybe someone could shed some light there?All in all, a fascinating behind the scenes look at one at my favourite childhood haunts. Thank you!

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