Willenhall's first cinema, the Coliseum, opened in 1914 in the old Hincks family’s malthouse on the corner of Bilston Street and New Road. This was soon followed by the opening of a second cinema, the Picture House, which opened in Stafford Street on the 19th April, 1915. The Picture House was a purpose-built cinema with first class facilities, whereas the Coliseum was housed in a not very suitable building, with inferior facilities. The Picture House was the more successful of the two, particularly when ‘the talkies’ arrived.
When Mrs Price, the last member of the Hincks family, died, her estate, including the Coliseum was put up for sale. It was purchased by John Tyler, a local councillor, builder, plumber, and decorator, who with his daughter Norah, decided to replace the cinema with a modern state of the art design. The building became the Dale Cinema, seating 1,150 people, including 250 on the balcony. It opened on the 31st October, 1932 with a showing of ‘Viennese Nights’, in Technicolor, with high quality Western Electric sound. Norah Tyler continued to run the cinema until her death in 1945 when it was acquired by J. L. and A. H. Brain who ran a cinema at Aldridge.
With the increased popularity of television, cinema audiences started to dwindle, and Willenhall, like many other towns eventually lost its cinemas. The Picture House closed on the 2nd May, 1959 and was demolished in 1961. The Dale continued in operation until the 30th December, 1967, then reopened as a bingo hall on the 16th February, 1968. In the late 1990s it was converted into a public house, and is now appropriately named ‘The Malthouse’, a J. D. Wetherspoon’s pub, which opened on the 21st December, 1999.
(info and postcard from Willenhall Through The Ages) Willenhall History
Hopefully, Richie can dig out an old photo or two of The Coliseum but here's one of The Picture House.