Hebden Bridge Picture House has, over its 100 year history, become a core part of the town’s heritage and culture – as evidenced by the local fight to save it when the site was earmarked for development in 1999. This independent, not-for-profit cinema is operated by the Hebden Royd Town Council, making it one of the last few civic-owned cinemas in the country, and hosts between 15 and 26 films each month. There are daily evening screenings, family matinees at weekends and during the school holidays, and even elevenses screenings on Thursday mornings, complete with free tea and biscuits. The programme of films here ranges from mainstream releases to art house and foreign language films – a broad roaster with something to appeal to most people.
The Hebden Bridge Picture House also plays host to touring programmes from a range of organisations, including the British Film Institute (BFI), as well as broadcasting live arts events from the likes of the National Theatre, Royal Opera House, Royal Shakespeare Company and Berlin Philharmonic. All of which can be enjoyed from the cinemas 500 plus seats, which are known for having great legroom, and with a cup of tea in a proper mug, wine or beer, ice cream, popcorn, or locally baked cakes. In fact, the food and drink at the Picture House is sourced from ethically-minded, independent and local (where possible) producers, with every penny spent at the bar and kiosk going right back into maintaining the theatre.
Celebrating its centenary in 2021, the cinema was once a place of entertainment for the local mill workers, weavers and residents of Hebden Bridge, and originally had over 900 seats. It’s future has come under threat a couple of times over the years; the cinema came very close to becoming a carpet warehouse in the 1960s. Over half of the seats were removed in 1978 (hence the generous legroom), and the Picture House has since been refurbished and modernised. Today, cinema-goers can enjoy up-to-date technology in surroundings that date back to the 1920s – and an excellent selection of films to boot.