Hidden and decaying above an amusement arcade In Batley, West Yorkshire is the former Regent Picture House.
With these words a breathtaking photo series of the rotting Cinema is presented on Flickr by photographer “Richboxfrenzy”.
Batley News reported exclusively in 2007
Plans to revive the old cinema as outlined by the Batley News as far ago as 2007 appear not to have been realised, as the state of the cinema apparently hasn’t changed since then, at least not for the better. Indeed, according to some reports, the ceiling has been replaced with a higher false ceiling and some of the remaining seats seem to also have been sold off.
The plans included the complete renovation of the cinema as a nostalgic picture house as well as turning other parts of the building into a winebar and a souk. In the article published by the Batley News Barry Ellis, director of the investor, complains that his projects had been hampered by “planning rejections and delays from the council”.
Mr Ellis, who once worked in the old Regent as a projectionist, planned to recreate part of the cinema to show old classics like Charlie Chaplin.
But the prospective investor, NBE Holdings Limited, Leeds, was dissolved in 2011 according to companycheck.co.uk. And as todays owner apparently lives in Warwickshire, a long way from the cinema, it makes the future for the picture house appear very uncertain at best.
The Regent Picture House itself was completed in 1919 and opened in 1920. It seated up to 800 people. Over the years it has seen a lot of changes. In the 40s and 50s it belonged (along with the Batley Empire) to the Arthur Hyde’s “A.S. Hyde Circuit”. At its height this circuit consisted of the following cinemas: Glenroyal, Pavilion de Luxe, Prince’s Hall (all Shipley). Picture House, Baildon. Arcadian, Coliseum, Coronet, Elite, (all Bradford), Glenroyal, Horsforth, Leeds as well as both cinemas in Batley.
The last time the Regent Picture House showed films was as an Asian Cinema. It is reported that the spool that is still on the projector today is of an Indian movie.
After Batley has lost so much of its heritage over the last years, it would be a real pity if this cinema were also to be lost.