ART-DECO design was the order of the day when Leominster's former cinema opened in the 1930s.

The Clifton in Leominster's South Street was designed and built in 1936 by architect Ernest S Roberts.

The architect had made a name for himself, in partnership with Rowland Satchwell, for specialising in cinema design, with the partnership responsible for many of the Odeon and Clifton cinemas built in the Midlands in the 1920s and early 1930s.

But the partnership was dissolved in 1934, with each setting out on their own to become rivals in an increasingly competitive industry.

Roberts began to specialise in designing cinemas for small towns, and was behind the designs of Leominster, Ludlow, and Tenbury's cinemas.

Leominster's Clifton cinema opened on October 31, 1936, with a showing of Escape Me Never featuring Elizabeth Berger.

The proceeds from the premiere went to Leominster Cottage Hospital.

The Clifton Cinema decorated for the Queens coronation, 1953

The Clifton Cinema decorated for the Queen's coronation, 1953

It continued to operate as a cinema until the 1980s, when it closed in favour of a bingo hall.

The former Clifton cinema as Top Ten Bingo

The former Clifton cinema as Top Ten Bingo

By 1998, the old cinema was being operated by Top Ten Bingo, and underwent a major renovation, with the company spending "considerable time and money on general improvements to the hall", the Hereford Times reported.

Original seating at the Clifton in Leominster in 1998

Original seating at the Clifton in Leominster in 1998


State-of-the-art seating and a suspended ceiling under a new roof was promised to give "even greater comfort", while interior design would highlight and match where possible the art-deco style and design of the 1930s.

The ticket kiosk at the former cinema in 1998

The ticket kiosk at the former cinema in 1998

A new licensed bar and cafeteria would also be added, but features including the 1930s ticket kiosk and the stained glass windows would remain.

By 2011, the Hereford Times reported, the venue had been declared 'unviable', and was sold to Kingsland-based Powell and Co Construction, who said they wanted to use it to put Leominster "back on the map".

“Top Ten Bingo still has the lease on it for a number of years yet,” said Powell and Co partner Jason Powell at the time.

“But as soon as they want out we have our own ideas."

Clifton Bingo, Leominster

Clifton Bingo, Leominster

In 2014, the hall reopened as Clifton Bingo, and continued to be operated as a bingo hall until late 2022, when it finally closed.

It has since been put on the market and is currently under offer.

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