Britain’s oldest working cinema has been congratulated in the House of Commons as it celebrates its anniversary.
The Electric Cinema, in Station Street, Birmingham city centre, first opened its doors on December 27, 1909.
MPs Tom Watson (Lab West Bromwich East), Khalid Mahmood (Lab Perry Barr) and Richard Burden (Lab Northfield) highlighted the cinema’s achievements in an official Commons motion.
They said the House of Commons “recognises the value of independent cinemas to the cultural and social life of local communities; celebrates the continued success of Britain’s oldest working cinema, The Electric in Birmingham; notes that on 2 December 2009 a centenary celebration is taking place for the cinema that started life as a silent movie theatre, became a news theatre during the Second World War and succumbed to dereliction in 2003.”
They congratulated the cinema’s owned, Thomas Lawes, who they said had “lovingly restored the cinema to its former Art Deco glory whilst preparing it for the new age of digital content; and calls on the Government to confirm its support for independent cinemas which are a vital part of Britain’s cultural film heritage”.
The Electric has been through a series of changes since its early days showing silent films.
It was closed in 1931, with the building used as an amusement arcade, only to re-open in 1937 as a news theatre.
In the 1980s it survived by offering customers horror films and soft porn.
In 2004, it was bought by Thomas Lawes Media Ltd and underwent a major renovation.
The building was restored to its Art Deco look from the 1930s, while the interior was outfitted with the latest cinema technology.
The Electric has also boasted a number of different names over the decades, including The Jacey, The Classic and Tivoli. It was returned to The Electric, the name it started with, in 1993.