Northwich had a number of cinemas. There was The Pavilion Central, The Plaza, Regal and Castle. All run by Cheshire County Cinemas at some point.

The third earliest cinema, the first being the Central, was The Castle, in Castle Street, which opened in 1920.

This was run by Northwich and Winsford Cinema Company. Seating was for around 500 and the images were projected with Gaumont machines.

In 1925 the manager was Tom Sherlock known as Uncle Tom. He had once been a professional singer with a fine tenor voice and became known as the singing manager.

New ownership took place in 1922 and by 1928 Coast Cinemas, run by a Billy Whitehead, were in charge of the hall.

In 1932, after redecorating and with sound film established, Simplex projectors were installed with an RCA sound system.

It was now under the supervision of W Gordon Smith, general manager of Macclesfield Super Cinemas Ltd.

By 1933 the cinema was run by Robert Hamilton Godfrey of Cheshire County Cinemas. Some sources say the cinema ran until 1947, but this is not clear. The building was demolished.

The Plaza cinema opened its doors on December 14, 1929. The architects were William and Segar Owen. They would also go on to design The Regal in the town.

The exterior was described as being severe in character. There was a rough cast finish relieved by by a central entrance, leaded light windows, a wrought iron and glass canopy sheltering all doorways and an effective Won Lite electric sign on a high facade over the main entrance.

There was a mahogany paybox occupying a central position flanked by two doors leading to the auditorium. Two staircases took patrons to the balcony area.

The auditorium was decorated in blue and orange. Fibrous plastering and colouring was carried out by Warrington firm Winstanley and Company.

Stage lighting was supplied by Holophane. In the 1960s it became a bingo club until 2011.

In the operating box there were two Kalee 8 machines and British Talking Picture (BTP) sound system.

The Central was another Cheshire County Cinema, which was destroyed by fire in 1940. It was managed by Charles F. Miller, who went on to manage The Pavilion cinema.

A temporary building, known as The Pavilion, opened on November 27, 1908 and provided cinema and live entertainment.

The licence was held by Hamilton and Hughes. Hamilton was Robert Hamilton Godfrey, who formed Cheshire County Cinemas.

The venture was a success and the pair realised a permanent building was required. 

A new Pavilion was then built in Hayhurst Street with seating for 1,200. It opened on December 8, 1910. The first manager was Harold Beale and in charge of projection was Robert Hughes.

The stadium-style Regal Northwich opened for business on Saturday, January 28, 1939, with the film ‘A Storm in Teacup’. Proceeds from the first screenings went to charity. The cinema was designed by Warrington architects Segar Owen and William Owen.

According to the Kine Weekly seating was for 1,100. Other sources state 1,059. Because of possible subsidence the cinema was built on a raft and the building could be lifted by special jacks if subsidence occurred.

The cinema was owned by Cheshire County Cinemas, which was run by the Godfrey family, who had been running their cinema business since 1912.

They had a number of cinemas in Cheshire and Lancashire. The head office of the company was The Empress cinema in Runcorn. Other picture theatres included The Plaza and Empire Widnes, The Woolton Liverpool and The Plaza, Northwich.

All their theatres were equipped with Westar, Western Electric sound and Peerless carbon arcs. Four track magnetic sound was a feature at the Regal. Other cinemas on the circuit were also equipped with four track, including the The Empress.

Another Regal was built alongside the Regal, seating 200 and became known as Regal Two. This was served by an extended projection room, and entrance was from Regal One. The auditorium of the original Regal wasn’t affected.

Towers were installed and Orcon xenon lamps provided screen illumination. Seating in Regal One was reduced to 927 even though the auditorium hadn’t been altered.

The Regal cinemas closed on January 6, 2006. The last film in number one was Grease. Equipment was auctioned off. The buildings faced the demolition hammer in 2013.

Northwich’s cinema scene bounced back when the five-screen Odeon multiplex was built at Baron’s Quay. Today films are projected digitally.