2012 project: Picture House, Paignton
Torbay Cinema formally known as the Paignton Picture House is something rather unusual. There are currently some 200 listed cinemas in the country. Of these 26 are listed at Grade II* and this is one. The Paignton Picture house is one of the earliest of these, opened around 1913 as one of Europe's first purpose cinemas. Built in an Art Nouveau style, the building was modernised in the early 1930s with an elaborate art deco interior. Agatha Christie who lived near by had her own two seats in the circle for the use of her and her driver! With some minor alteration the building remained in the way operating until 1999 when it closed. Recognising its importance, Torbay Council resisted plans to alter the interior and moth balled the building preserving one of the most complete examples in the country. Devon Historic Buildings Trust is now working in Partnership with the National Trust and Torbay Council on plans to reopen the cinema. This will act as a major catalyst to the regeneration of Paignton and will demonstrate the important role that Building Preservation Trusts have in the regeneration of historic towns.