Robert Hope-JonesRobert Hope-Jones (1859-1914), Father of The Theatre Organ






John Compton Collage BlueJohn Compton, Pioneer, Innovator and Organ Builder



ExteriorThe Plaza Cinema Stockport

The Plaza Cinema Stockport opened in 1932 with the screening of the film, Forty Second Street.  It had been built as a Super Cinema for the Reed, Snape & Ward Cinema Circuit whose flagship cinema was the Regal Altrincham.  The design of the cinema was Art Deco and in an Egyptian style and is believed to have been inspired by the Paris Exhibition (1925) with gold ceilings and bas-relief murals of nymphs.  The auditorium is decorated in the same style together with ornamental grilles, niches, cornices and decorative lights with a large ceiling dome.

Opening Day CollageShowing  the  Foyer,  the  Box  Office   &   Auditorium  on  Opening  Day,   7th  October,  1932      These photographs appear by permission of the Plaza Stockport

Plaza Stockport CollageThe photograph of the Plaza Cinema at night (Top) was taken by Mikey

These photographs appear by permission of the Plaza Stockport

The cinema was also equipped with a cafe-restaurant and a Compton Theatre Organ designed by Norman Cocker along with a Plaza Orchestra at the time of opening.  Cecil Chadwick played the Organ on Opening night and became the resident organist.

The Organ has 3-manuals and 11-ranks and was installed with a Special Illuminated Sunburst Style Console Case.  It has 150 Stop Keys and two organ chambers which are found behind the grille to the right of the stage.

The Organ Plaza Stockport CollageThe Compton Theatre Organ of the Plaza Cinema Stockport

These photographs appear by permission of the Plaza Stockport

Click here to hear the Organ being played

Auditorium_and_Organ_Stockport_PlazaThis photograph appears by permission of the Plaza Stockport


As a result of falling patronage, the Plaza closed on 31st December, 1966 with the screening of Three on a Couch with Jerry Lewis and The Texican with Audie Murphy.  The Organ was played at this time by William Starr.

Click here to hear the Organ being played


Mecca Logo

The Cinema was sold to Mecca Bingo who closed the venue for a few months to allow the necessary conversion work to be undertaken.  The cafe was also closed and converted into a Nightclub.  Seemingly Mecca had difficulties securing a license and operated it as a cinema once more for a short period of time while waiting for a Gaming License to be granted.  Mecca operated the building as a Bingo Club until 1998 when it was closed and put up for sale.


At this time, the Plaza Action Group was formed with the hope of restoring both the building and the Theatre Organ and maintaining it as a cinema and theatre.  Although the Plaza had not been altered too much, it was in need of restoration.  Also at this time, the Cinema Theatre Association and English Heritage has been successful having the building listed.  Eventually its listing was upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*.

CTA & EH Collage

In March 2000, The Stockport Plaza Trust, which came from The Plaza Action Group, bought the building with the financial help of Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.  With the help of The Friends of the Plaza, which was also formed from the original Action Group, much was done to put the building back to a condition whereby productions could once more be presented on its stage.


42nd St. Collage

The Plaza Cinema/Theatre opened once more to the public in October 2001 with a production by the local Operatic Society and on first of December and on 1st December, the film of Forty Second Street was once again shown there.  Later in the month, Cinderella was presented in what was hoped would beome the first presentation of an annual pantomime.

Pantomime CollageThese photographs appear by permission of the Plaza Stockport

As a result of a Heritage Lottery Award and a lot of hard work by a number of people, restoration of the Plaza Cinema/Theatre has become a reality, and today, the building is considered to be the finest example of a Super Cinema in the North of England.

Click here  to visit official website of The Plaza Stockport

Art Deco Plaza CollageTop Right: This photograph was taken by Pete Worth

These photographs appear by permission of the Plaza Stockport



I would like to thank Mr. Ian McIver for providing information and photographs.  I would also like to thank Mr. Stephen Dutfield for allowing the reproduction of some photographs from The Compton List here and for the information provided there.

I would like to thank Mr. Ted Doan of the Plaza Stockport for allowing the photographs of the building and the Organ to appear here.

Very special thanks are given to Mr. Paul Bland for providing photographs, musical interludes and information and without whom this piece would not have been possible.

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