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January 10, 2019
Arts & Culture

National Lottery Funding awarded to Hyde Park Picture House

Arts & Culture

National Lottery Funding awarded to Hyde Park Picture House

We are thrilled that our redevelopment project at Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds has secured a National Lottery grant of £2.3million. This significant award will allow our second cultural project in Leeds to commence on site in autumn 2019.

The Grade II listed Picture House is to be transformed with a new second, basement level cinema screen, expanded foyers and works to make the building more accessible and sustainable.

The project is the culmination of a huge effort by the cinema operators Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House and the local community to secure it’s future as a cultural destination in Leeds and Yorkshire.

Design proposals were granted full planning and listed building consent in spring 2018. The design team led by Page\Park includes Buro Happold (Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, Structural, Fire and Acoustic Engineering), Gardiner and Theobald (Cost Consultants) and IDCAS (Access Consultant) with support during the development phase from Turner Townsend (Project Management).

The full press release follows:



With the film industry abuzz with news of awards nominations, the last remaining gas-lit cinema in the UK is already a winner after securing a National Lottery grant of £2.3million.

Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds can now begin work on The Picture House Project – a vital redevelopment that will secure the future of the 104-year old cinema for decades to come.

First opened in 1914, the Grade II listed Picture House is one of the UK’s oldest cinemas. Beginning its life shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, it gained popularity by screening patriotic dramas and newsreels to boost morale during the action. The Picture House survived the advent of ‘talkies’ in the 1920s and continues to screen the very best independent and award-winning films from around the world. Today, the cinema still attracts devoted visitors, and counts some famous faces amongst its fans, including filmmaker Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice, Colette), Hollywood actor Chris Pine (Star Trek, Wonder Woman), and broadcaster and film critic Mark Kermode.

The cinema’s nine gas-lights, originally installed as ‘modesty-lighting’ to deter any inappropriate behaviour in the back seats, continue to be lit every day. Thanks to the project, they will now undergo essential refurbishment work to ensure they continue to flicker long into the future.

Thanks to money raised by the National Lottery, as well as significant match-funding support from Leeds City Council, the project will preserve, protect and celebrate the cinema’s unique heritage, whilst making the building more accessible and sustainable.

The Picture House Project will see the cinema undergo essential conservation work to the façade and existing auditorium, alongside the creation of new facilities including a larger foyer space and a 2nd screen located in the cinema’s large basement. The project will also allow the cinema’s rich history to be explored and celebrated, through archival screenings, heritage tours and educational workshops – helping to tell the story of film making and film watching in the region.

Confirmation of the full lottery grant comes after two years of development work and extensive consultation with audiences, which resulted in the project receiving full planning approval earlier this year. The decision by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to allow the project to proceed, means that building work is now due to begin in autumn 2019.

As well as support from HLF, the project has only been made possible thanks to significant backing from Leeds City Council and the Garfield Weston Foundation; alongside funding support from the British Film Institute, the Pilgrim Trust, the Gwyneth Forrester Trust and the Co-op Community Fund.

Commenting on the award, David Renwick, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber said:

“Hyde Park Picture House is not just a place to see wonderful stories on the silver screen, but is itself at the heart of many fantastic stories for the people of Leeds, and even further afield. We’re thrilled that money raised by the National Lottery is being used to ensure that it continues to be a mainstay of the city’s rich, and still growing, cultural heritage. This is such a timely project given the recent news of Channel 4 moving to Leeds and to the momentum behind Leeds as a cultural centre.”

The Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:

“The Picture House is a rare cultural gem in our city and Leeds City Council is delighted to play a vital part in securing its future.

With work on The Picture House Project set to coincide with Channel 4’s move to Leeds and the opening of Screen Yorkshire’s new Film Office, it has never been a more exciting time for film and television in our city. Collectively this brings us another step closer to making Leeds a truly innovative city, one that uses culture to shine a light on what is possible.”

Paul Scholey, Chair of the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House Board, added:

“As custodians of three of Leeds’ most historic cultural venues, we’re very proud of the important role Hyde Park Picture House plays in making our city so special.

It is always a challenge to preserve a historic building in ways which are both true to the story of the building, and of value to the community that enjoys it. But with the support of the many fantastic partners we’ve had on this project we feel more confident than ever that we have found that way forward, and as a result the future of this wonderful gas-lit cinema is secured at last.”


For further information, images and interviews please contact:

Rhianon Davies, HLF Press Office | 0207 591 6036 

Ollie Jenkins, Marketing Manager at the Hyde Park Picture House | 0113 275 2045

For more information about the upcoming redevelopment, including proposed plans, video updates, a project timeline and more, visit

Notes to Editors

About the Heritage Lottery Fund Thanks to National Lottery players the Heritage Lottery Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under foot to the historic parks and buildings that help articulate our history, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. HLF can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.


The Hyde Park Picture House was established in 1914 and is one of the UK’s oldest cinemas. Located just outside of Leeds City Centre, the Grade II listed building features an ornate balcony, gas lighting, and a cosy, friendly atmosphere. It screens the very best independent, art house and classic films from around the world, as well as special live events with filmmakers, artists and academics.

The Picture House Project team consists of Page\Park (Architects), Buro Happold Engineering (Engineers), Gardiner & Theobald (Cost Consultant) and Martin McConaghy at IDCAS (Access Consultant) with support during the development phase from Turner Townsend (Project Management).

Alongside the architectural ambitions the scheme has a large activity programme and development of a sustainable business model going forwards. DCA Consultants have supported the scheme on business and activity planning. Full details on the Picture House project can be found at

HLF Heritage Grants applications are assessed in two rounds. The Picture House Project was initially granted round one development funding of £122k by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2016 allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals were then considered by HLF at second round, where a final decision was granted for the full funding award of £2,320,100

Alongside HLF and Leeds City Council, match funding for the scheme has been secured through the British Film Institute ( The Gwyneth Forrester Trust (, The Pilgrim Trust (, the Co-op Local Community Fund ( and The Friends of Hyde Park Picture House (

The project is continuing to welcome match-funding contributions and will be embarking on a crowd-funding campaign when the redevelopment work begins. Individuals or businesses who are interested in sponsorship opportunities are welcome to contact the cinema’s General Manager, Wendy Cook, on

The Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House Ltd. is a Charitable Company (Charity Registration Number 500408) which operates the Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House and the City Varieties Music Hall.