Book Review : York Cinemas by Mervyn Gould

York Cinemas by Mervyn Gould

Published by the Mercia Cinema Society, ISBN 9780946406586 in 2005

Buy this book here.

This comprehensive 210 page book looks at the history of cinema in York, from the first film shown in the city in 1896 at the Theatre Royal through to today’s multiplex cinemas.

The book is written in chronological order and so is easy to follow the development of cinema in the city, especially the heyday of film in the 1920s and 1930s. There are plans of cinemas when they were built, and there are some interesting passages quoted from the notes of Roger Bullivant, a designer for the York Odeon. These sections refer to the efficiency of the companies which constructed the cinemas in record time, and just how quickly the buildings were put up.

The cinema went into decline in the 1980s, and many of the cinemas started to close or were redeveloped into bingo halls or retail units. The book covers this period and also how by the later part of the twentieth century cinema started to make a recovery again.