Hyde Park Picture House - Atlas Obscura

Hyde Park Picture House

The last gas-lit cinema in the United Kingdom, and perhaps the world. 

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The Hyde Park Picture House has been entertaining the citizens of Leeds since opening its doors on November 2, 1914. 

The cinema retains many of its original features (the original projection screen is preserved behind the modern one) including its Edwardian lamppost, terrazzo floor, tiled facade, molded balcony and ceiling, Dutch gable, and nine iconic gas lamps. Originally installed as “modesty lighting” to discourage any back-seat activities, visitors to the main auditorium are still welcomed by their flickering glow over a century later; making the Hyde Park Picture House the only gas-lit cinema in the United Kingdom—and perhaps the last in the world. 

The cinema has survived two world wars, seen the advent of talkies, staved off competition from TV and VHS, and even once had an elephant outside its doors to promote 1959 documentary The Big Hunt. Despite being at risk of closure several times, supporters of the Picture House have always stepped in to save this much-loved institution.

Between 2020 and 2023, the building underwent a massive restoration and redevelopment, securing the Hyde Park Picture House’s legacy for hopefully at least another 100 years.

Know Before You Go

See the Hyde Park Picture House website for film listings, access information, and tours.

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November 9, 2023

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