Torbay Picture House
It was opened on 16 March 1914, and is believed to be the oldest surviving purpose-built cinema in Europe. In its early days it featured a 21-piece orchestra, with each member paid a guinea to perform. There are 375 seats: 271 in the stalls, 104 in the circle, plus three private boxes at the back seating an additional eight.
The cinema closed down on 26 September 1999 following the opening of a multiplex cinema at the other end of the same road. It was bought by the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway, which is adjacent, who had plans to turn it into a passenger waiting area. However, due to the building's Grade II listed building status, it is difficult to make any extensive changes and those plans have been shelved.
More recently, there has been talk of returning the Torbay Picture House to its former glory, as a living film museum featuring films from the very first days of silent cinema through to the 1950s. The experience would be further enhanced by staff wearing period costume. However, discussions with the railway company have some way to go before the future of this historic building is known.
- Seat 2, Row 2 of the circle was the favourite seat of crime novelist Agatha Christie, who lived at Greenway House, near neighbouring Kingswear. The cinemas and theatres in her books are all reportedly based on the Torbay Picture House. The name Churston, a stop on the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway, is used for the letter C in her book The Alphabet Murders.
- The last film shown before closure was the deliberately ironic The Smallest Show on Earth.
- While the nearby Methodist church was being renovated, the local minister used the Torbay Picture House for services.
- "Paignton grand old lady of film is 100 years old". Herald Express. 16 March 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- Photos reveal inside Bay's historic cinema — where time has stood still Herald Express, 9 March 2016.