An old picture of the Gaumont cinema, Birkenhead*

Member Article

Property project for former Merseyside picture house

A much loved former Merseyside picture house is set to take centre stage, with plans for its transformation into much needed homes.

Southport based 79th Homes has exchanged contracts on the 72-year-old Gaumont cinema in Birkenhead.

Subject to planning, the property specialist hopes to put the renowned art-deco style building ‘top of the bill’ with a £5.5m conversion to create 25-30 one and two bedroomed apartments.

Built on the site of the former Electric Theatre, the Gaumont opened in 1938 and quickly became a well-used local attraction, during and after the Second World War. However, as televisions became popular in the 1960’s, audiences dwindled.

The cinema showed its last film – a double bill – Lassie’s Great Adventure and Journey to the Centre of the Earth - before closing its doors in 1964.

Since then the building has operated as a Bingo Hall, Snooker Club, Roller Skating Rink and in recent years, a furniture store.

Jake Webster, Managing Director with 79th Homes said: “The history of this building is fascinating. The hand and footprints of British film star, Nova Pilbeams, who starred in two of Alfred Hitchcock’s pre Hollywood films, can still be seen on the pavement adjacent to the entrance!

“If we can, we’d like to incorporate them into the redevelopment of the building which represents a unique and exciting project in an area of substantial planned regeneration. Subject to planning, we are confident that we can convert this building in line with its surrounds and environment, maintaining the original façade and many of the historic, internal features but also providing modern, quality, affordable housing which is in great demand in this area.”

Part of The 79th Group, 79th Homes has huge experience in the UK property market. It has delivered thousands of residential and commercial units over the past twenty five years, working alongside a panel of private and institutional lenders. It specialises in acquiring under utilised buildings and converting them into residential accommodation.

*Picture Credit - Elmorovivo, picture posted to Cinema Treasures website.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Paul Dobbie .

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