Inside the hidden Bristol cinema campaigners are fighting to save

  • Watch Ellie Barker's live report on the art-deco entertainment venue.

Campaigners are fighting to save an historic cinema in Bristol that is threatened with demolition.

Redfield Cinema is an art-deco entertainment venue that first opened in 1912, and has survived the test of time.

Its 130 seats remain largely intact, as is an art deco frieze that still surrounds the former screen and runs across the ceiling.

But the cinema - which sits above a J D Wetherspoon pub in St George - is now endangered.

The venue opened in 1912 as the St George’s Hall Electric Palace before being renamed in 1927 and again in 1935. Credit: Save Redfield Cinema.

The St George's Hall pub will cease trading on 19 September, having been sold, and campaigners fear the site will be turned into flats.

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition to Bristol City Council calling for them to classify the cinema as an 'asset of community value.'

The campaign says the petition offers a "huge opportunity for local people to have a community cinema and for the city to preserve a real cultural treasure."They added that "to demolish it would be a tremendous waste."

The art deco venue has been closed for decades and developers hope to turn the site into housing. Credit: Save Redfield Cinema.

On Facebook, more than 1,800 people have also come together to form the Save Redfield Cinema group.

Members have discussed their memories of attending the venue when it became a bingo hall in the 1960s.

Alan Purnell used to visit the site several times a week as a child, where he would watch films.

Speaking to ITV News, he said: "Its a wonderful cinema and I have some wonderful memories of what we used to do in there for a bit of fun.

The cinema needs work, but much of the original features - including the seats, signs and paintings -remain. Credit: Save Redfield Cinema.

"It was a great cinema. I used to use it several times a week and I was really sad when it closed in, I believe in about '61, when it closed down.

Campaigner Paul Burke agreed and argued the "building has not had a chance to be a cinema for sixty years."

"The area has changed in that time, the times have changed a lot in that time, and we'd like to give it a chance," he said.

"As well as a commercial cinema, there are just loads of opportunities for community outreach, for the schools, you know, we could just screen stuff for people on a rainy morning and they could just drop in. All that stuff at the moment, you have to drive to.

"So, to have all the facility in an area, as well as homes, where people can walk to, I think it's really important."

Campaigners are calling for the venue to be classified as an asset of community value. Credit: Save Redfield Cinema.

But developers hope to turn the site into housing and say the need for homes in Bristol is pressing. Landrose is currently in the process of trying acquire the property.

'We need to make choices'

Pat Hart, a spokesperson for the company, said: "We can see how passionate people are.

"But the most important thing is, in respect to the wishes of people in the local community, but also about priorities.

"It's about housing. Not to build flats and to sell them on - this is for key workers: for people from the NHS, care workers.

"I've lived in this area a lot, four different places over the years. And I'm excited when I look at the old videos [of the cinema]. But sometimes - we're just come over Covid, it's post-austerity time - we need to make choices.

"So, if we can have both, that's amazing, but if not, we obviously choose flats."


The St George’s Hall Electric Palace first opened its doors in 1912, showing black and white films while a pianist played along.

Then and now: the Granada cinema foyer as it was versus the St George's Hall pub as it currently lookstoday. Credit: Save Redfield Cinema.

In 1927, the entertainment venue was renamed the St George's Picture House, and then became the Granada in 1935.

But in 1961, the days of moving pictures reels and movie reels came to a close, with the venue turned into a bingo hall.

It functioned as this for around 30 years before it finally shut its doors.

The former foyer area of the site then became a pub in 1998 - but now the era of the St George's Hall pub has also come to a close.