picture house lisburn market square ILC&LM Collection

Flyer: Lisburn Picture House, c1930

picture house lisburn market square ILC&LM Collection

Flyer: Lisburn Picture House, c1930

A flyer for the Picture House, Market Square, Lisburn.  At 34 Market Square we have Hagan’s, at 36 Market Square was the Picture House, while at no. 38 was Thompsons’, a bakery. The cinema opened in Lisburn 1927, but burned to the ground in 1930.  A new building was later erected. On its re-opening in 1932, the Northern Whig newspaper reported:

The Picture House, Lisburn, which was opened yesterday. Lisburn’s new picture house, a handsome building embodying all the newest and best ideas in planning, was opened yesterday. The new structure has been erected in Market Square on the site where the old picture house stood, and the clever manner in which simple Moorish architecture has been incorporated in the design of the building imparts a note of distinction to it that immediately arrest the attention. The decorative scheme has been carried out on a most elaborate scale, while the latest and most comfortable types of seats have been provided. The entrance doors axe of novel design, and have clever arrangement of glass panels combined ‘with delicately coloured leaded lights, while the concealed lighting effects over the doors give most attractive result. The entrance floor has been carried out with very tine marble terrazzo in black, brown, and light fawn, while the walls have been decorated in red, green, tangerine, and gold colours. Facing the entrance the pay-box, which carries on the architectural idea thoroughly modernised, and, with the upper parts and dome having concealed lights, the effect is most effective.

There are three direct exits from the ground floor, in addition to two leading to the front street, while the balcony is served by two exits. The ventilation of the theatre is done by two systems, natural and artificial. In the first the ventilated air escapes naturally through largo roof ventilators, while the second system extracts the air means of electric fan. Concealed behind every ceiling light in the theatre is a large ventilator. Fresh air is forced means of an electric fan as well as natural filtering, and by this means the air in the building will be constantly changing while it is being heated by high pressure system. A most elaborate heating chamber and engine house has been erected completely outside the theatre.

The electric installation is one of the finest in any theatre in Ireland, being carried out in an absolutely fireproof manner and in different circuits so that every part of the building can be separately lighted. The painting and decorative work is the result of careful thought and is of extreme artistic beauty. The British Thomson-Houston system of sound production has been installed and the pictures will he shown on a specially constructed screen of rubber. Mr. Trevor C. Thomas. 34, Arthur Street, supplied all the carpets, linoleum, and also the blinds. Mr. Thomas has just supplied furniture to the Purdysburn Fever Hospital, and all of it was made in his own works, another example of valuable local industry. He has also fitted the Hippodrome and Grand Opera House. He specialises in the class of work required by amusement houses, and has had orders for nearly all the theatres and cinemas in Northern Ireland. The following firms have carried out the work:—Building, Messrs. Samuel Pinner Co., Banhridge; heating, Musgrave & Co., Ltd., Belfast; painting and decorating, Mr. Robert Shaw, Ardenlee Avenue, Belfast; electrical. The City and Suburban Engineering Co., Belfast.

The Picture House closed in May 1969 with its final film The Thomas Crown Affair, featuring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunnaway.

Do you remember the Picture House?  Let us know, get in touch!  

Mayor’s Festival, 2021

As part of the Mayor’s Carnival, 2021, we are sharing photographs and objects from the museum’s collection over the past 100 years. Follow us on social media:

#LisburnHistoryThroughTheYears #VirtualMuseum #Lisburn #NI100 #lccc_mayorsfestival

Mayor's Festival 2021


If you want to learn more about life in Lisburn 100 years ago, and the centenary of Northern Ireland, please view our online exhibition in the #VirtualMuseum: ‘Planting a Parliament: partition and foundation of Northern Ireland, 1920-22’

Planting a Parliament - Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum Exhibition
Scroll to Top