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Hiding in Plain Sight

Leeds’ lost cinemas brought back to life with the launch of new interactive walking tour.

Fascinating stories from sixteen cinemas in Leeds city centre have been brought to life thanks to an exciting new walking tour, produced as part of the Hyde Park Picture House’s Hiding in Plain Sight heritage project.

From today, the new self-guided audio tour will take visitors on an illuminating journey through Leeds city centre, sharing with them captivating details of some of the city’s oldest cinemas – the majority of which are still visible today. From giant super cinemas such as the recently refurbished Majestic, to Leeds’ very first cinema, The Coliseum – the tour is free to access and available at: lostcinemas.co.uk.

Narrated by Leeds author SJ Bradley, with specially composed new music by Faded Auditoria, the tour includes cinemas such as Briggate Picture House – a luxurious cinematograph theatre which housed two tea lounges, as well as the Paramount Theatre – a huge 2,556 seat venue which staged concerts by The Beatles in 1963 and 1964.

Bringing together years of research, as well as illustrations from artist Adam Allsuch Boardman, the Hiding in Plain Sight project allows users to discover the details of over 80 cinemas across the city, via an interactive map. Visitors to the website – which was produced by Leeds-based creative agency Let’s Dance and supported by Leeds Inspired – can also contribute to the project directly by submitting memories or photos they have of specific cinema venues.

Hiding in Plain Sight sits within a wider programme of activity being delivered by the Hyde Park Picture House and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund – helping to celebrate and preserve Leeds’ rich film history. This includes The Picture House Project – a multi-million-pound redevelopment project, which will protect and conserve the cinema’s important heritage, whilst creating vital new accessible facilities to safeguard the building for generations to come. With work on the redevelopment now underway, the Hyde Park Picture House is expected to reopen in summer 2022, following a two-year closure.

The Hyde Park Picture House’s Robb Barham, the lead on the audio tour project, said: “It’s been a wonderful journey delving into the rich history of Leeds city centre cinemas – to create a way of bringing them back to life, for the public to see the original features for themselves and to discover our city anew – preserving both our shared heritage and cultural memories.”

Illustrator and project researcher Adam Allsuch Boardman said: “I was thrilled to be invited to produce imagery to celebrate the role of cinemas in the Leeds community. During my research, I was drawn to the characteristic facades of each cinema. Whether it’s the intricate terracotta brickwork, or hand-painted and electric signage, each building tells a unique story of its place in Leeds’ cultural history.”

Lost Cinemas


Graphic for the Hiding in Plain Sight project with title and four hand drawn images of lost cinemas featured in the project