When I joined Empire in Sutton Coldfield in 2015 I was given a bit of information surrounding our 1936 Art Deco cinema
There was a rumor that there was some art work on the walls leading up to screen 1 but nothing confirmed, until an encounter with one of our senior customers a few weeks ago shed some light on what was a big story back in 1960 it actually was.
Mr Sawbridge was a member of the Sutton Society of Artist who contributed the painting to the cinema as part of the Mayors World Year Appeal. It was suggested to the manager at the time that the painting would brighten up the foyer area.
However there was much more to the story Mr Sawbridge explained as the unveiling and reaction to the 12 foot painting made national news.
Des Christie manager of Empire said what a fantastic piece of history, and it was very fascinating meeting and Listening to Mr Sawbridge talking about the cinema 60 years ago, the story about the painting itself raised some eyebrows but the history behind it really captures the imagination, and it really brings home old the actual cinema is.
Empire Sutton Coldfield is still one of the oldest still in operation Art Deco cinemas open in the UK which is a fantastic achievement in the age of MultiPlex chains.
Listening to Mr Sawbridge talk about how he himself used the cinema 60 years ago and the articles and pictures he was able to show me was a real treat, we appreciate Empire is and Art Deco Cinema and we face daily challenges with our building internally and externally.
People may have seen a lot of work recently happening on the roof of the building we were experiencing issues with bad weather recently and invested £160’000 in a complete new roof, the roof comes with a 15 year warrantee so I’m hoping Empire is able to show many more films in years to come, we appreciate we still have a long way to go and would of loved to have spent that budget internally but the external aspects of the building was showing signs of age so we needed to get the building dry and secure first.
We are very committed to the Sutton Coldfield community and hearing stories from people such as Mr Sawbridge who has used the cinema for 70 years now is an amazing achievement in itself.
People should read the article itself about the painting at Empire Sutton Coldfield and what it stood for, you will not be disapointed.
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