Danilo Cinema

The Danilo Cinema that was opened in 1937 by Judy Kelly in Hinckley

danilo cinema hinckley
The Danilo Cinema

1936 The Danilo was built on the site of a former hosiery factory (along Trinity Lane) to designs by Mr Ernest. S. Robert , who was a prolific cinema architect in the Birmingham area. G. E and W.Wincott of Nuneaton were the contractors for the building.

The cinema had been designed to have seating for 1,250 people which was the latest and most luxurious type. There were also two dressing rooms and a smallish stage. The cinema was the last super-cinema to be built in Hinckley.

Throughout the cinema the decorations that were carried out had been simple and modern lines, a special feature of the cinema being the curtaining. Great care had been expended on the design to ensure that the occupant of every seat shall not only have a clear and uninterrupted view of the screen and stage, but also have perfect hearing. The idea underlying the design had been to construct a hall scientifically perfect for its purpose, and at the same time to produce in the mind of the patron a sense of comfort and the right atmosphere for the full enjoyment of the entertainment.

The ventilation and heating has received special attention, and another interesting feature is the well-planned operating chambers at the back of the balcony. The Cinema is equipped with the new sound re-producing system perfected by R.C.A . Photophone, and known as the 'Magic Voice of the Screen'.

The Danilo was one of a chain owned by Mortimer Dent who was the chairman and managing director with experience of 21 years in the cinema world. The other cinemas in the chain included those in the areas of Brierley Hill, Redditch, Cannock, Longbridge, Stoke-on-Trent and Stourbridge.

The opening announcement of The Danilo 1937
The opening announcement of The Danilo 1937

26th July 1937 The Danilo Cinema was opened by Sir William Edge (MP for the Bosworth Divison) and along with Judy Kelly who was a famous film star of the time. At the end of the evening Miss Kelly said she had enjoyed her visit to Hinckley, and had never received a more spontaneous or more wholehearted welcome. She said she had flown overnight from France. The day before she had been at the races, and had seen children of five and six years of age backing their fancy. That seemed to her to be very wrong, but she liked the happy Hinckley children, who cheered her as she stepped from her car and walked into the new cinema.

The film attraction was Jack Buchannan in 'This'll make you Whistle', supported by 'The Outer Gate' which featured Ralph Morgan and Ben Alexander.

22nd May 1953 The death was announced of Mr Bill Heward. One of Hinckley's most famous characters, he had been a cinema commissionaire for 35 years. Originally Bill had been employed at the Regent Theatre where he kept order in the queues outside and in the pit on Saturday nights when it was inclined to be rowdy. When the company retired him after 25 years he then put on a new uniform and kept order at the Danilo.

1970 The Danilo was re-opened as the Essoldo, and in 1972 was bought by Classic Cinemas and so renamed again.

August 1973 The cinema was re-opened after having some modifications done as a three-screen cinema, later becoming the Cannon.

28th August 1989 The Cannon showed "Batman" which broke all records and beat "ET" and "Roger Rabbit". Queues stretched from the cinema all the way to Hollycroft Park, people had to be turned away when the 350 seats in screen one had been filled.

May 1993 The cinema closed, becoming the last functioning cinema in the town.

During 1994 A campaign started to re-open the cinema, but failed.

1998 The cinema went through some conversion work and re-opened as a sports entertainment bar named 'All Bar Sports'.

2004 The 'All Bar Sports' finished leaving the building to stand empty to the present day (2014).

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