The auditorium at Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds. Photograph: Tom Joy/Heritage Lottery Fund
A tiny cinema that opened in Leeds within months of the outbreak of the first world war, now believed to be the only one in the world still lit by gas, has won a £2.4m heritage lottery grant to restore historic features and open up its archives.
The Hyde Park Picture House is among a dozen sites receiving major grants, including William Morris’s beautiful Oxfordshire country home, Kelmscott Manor, where the flowers and wildlife inspired many of his designs.
Now owned by the local authority, the Grade II-listed Hyde Park still has 11 working gas lamps, though the imposing lantern on the facade, which is separately listed, was converted to electricity.
Its single-screen auditorium shows films every day, having seen off the competition of the giant jazz-age cinemas with their thousands of seats and luxurious facilities, the coming of television, and the more recent rise of out-of-town multiplexes.