Phoenix Picturehouse

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The front of the Phoenix Picturehouse on Walton Street in Oxford, England.

The Phoenix Picturehouse is a cinema in Oxford, England,[1] for many years a nationally leading independent art house cinema.[2] It is part of the Picturehouse Cinemas group and is located at 57 Walton Street in the Jericho district of central Oxford.

History[edit]

The Phoenix in Walton Street first opened as the North Oxford Kinema on 15 March 1913 under proprietors Richard Henry John Bartlett, W. Beeson, and Charles Green.[3]

The building was designed by local architect Gilbert T. Gardner, although little now remains of his ornate original facade, which was replaced in 1939 according to a design by Frederick G. M. Chancellor of Frank Matcham & Co.[4]

The cinema changed ownership several times during its early years. Proprietors included Hubert Thomas Lambert (1917–20), C. W. Poole’s Entertainments (1920–23), Walshaw Enterprises (1923–25), Ben Jay (1925–27), J. Bailiff (1927–28), and Edward Alfred Roberts (1928–30).[3] In 1920, Poole's, a company most famous for Poole's Myriorama, refurbished the cinema and renamed it The Scala. In 1925, it briefly became the New Scala under Ben Jay.[2]

In 1930, the lease was acquired by J. R. Poyntz and sound equipment was installed. Poyntz regularly showed subtitled films, which were especially popular with foreign-language students. The cinema was in the ownership of the Poytz family for forty years, becoming one of the most important art houses cinema in the United Kingdom outside London.[2]

In 1970, the cinema was acquired by Star Associated Holdings Ltd., who split the single auditorium into two screens, and renamed it Studios One and Two.[5] The film selection became much more mainstream, and adult films became a regular part of the programming.[6] In 1976, Studio Two was renamed Studio X and briefly became a private club for more explicit adult fare.[7]

In 1977, the cinema was renamed The Phoenix by new owners Charles and Kitty Cooper of Contemporary Films, who started showing art house and foreign language films on a regular basis again. Contemporary Films introduced late night screenings every day of the week, which were very popular with local students.[3] Unfortunately, admissions fell in the 1980s (as they did throughout the UK at this time) and the Coopers reluctantly decided to sell the cinema.[8]

In 1989, the cinema was sold to Lyn Goleby and Tony Jones and became the first venue in the Picturehouse group of 21 cinemas.[3] On 6 December 2012, this group was acquired by Cineworld.[9] Although it is no longer independent, the Phoenix Picturehouse still has the feel of an independent cinema. In March 2013, the cinema celebrated its centenary, and a book about its history was published later that year.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cine-files: The Phoenix Picturehouse, Oxford". The Guardian. October 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Debbie Waite (18 January 2013). "Phoenix to Celebrate its Centenary in Reel Style". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Phoenix Centenary Blog. "History". Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Deborah Allison, Hiu M. Chan & Daniela Treveri Gennari. The Phoenix Picturehouse: 100 Years of Oxford Cinema Memories. Picturehouse Publications. p. 63. ISBN 9780992646103. 
  5. ^ Deborah Allison, Hiu M. Chan & Daniela Treveri Gennari. The Phoenix Picturehouse: 100 Years of Oxford Cinema Memories. Picturehouse Publications. pp. 81–85. ISBN 9780992646103. 
  6. ^ Hiu M. Chan. 100 Years at The Phoenix: Archive of an Oxford Cinema 1913-2013 (PDF). Oxford Folio. p. 260. ISBN 9780956740557. 
  7. ^ Deborah Allison, Hiu M. Chan & Daniela Treveri Gennari. The Phoenix Picturehouse: 100 Years of Oxford Cinema Memories. Picturehouse Publications. pp. 91–93. ISBN 9780992646103. 
  8. ^ Deborah Allison, Hiu M. Chan & Daniela Treveri Gennari. The Phoenix Picturehouse: 100 Years of Oxford Cinema Memories. Picturehouse Publications. pp. 119–120. ISBN 9780992646103. 
  9. ^ Deborah Allison, Hiu M. Chan & Daniela Treveri Gennari. The Phoenix Picturehouse: 100 Years of Oxford Cinema Memories. Picturehouse Publications. p. 153. ISBN 9780992646103. 
  10. ^ Deborah Allison, Hiu M. Chan & Daniela Treveri Gennari. The Phoenix Picturehouse: 100 Years of Oxford Cinema Memories. Picturehouse Publications. ISBN 9780992646103. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°45′37″N 1°16′00″W / 51.760322°N 1.266636°W / 51.760322; -1.266636