Created By: Cheltenham Local History Society
The Daffodil Picture House, the first purpose-built cinema in Cheltenham, was opened in 1922 by Frederick Sims, the owner of a baker’s shop next door. It had 750 seats, including some doubles for use by courting couples. The building has many art deco period features, including repeated use of the daffodil motif.
The films were silent and accompanied by a full orchestra for dramatic effect, until a sound system was installed in 1930. A few of them were in full colour as early as the 1920s. Performances were continuous between 2.30pm and 10.30pm.
The first film to be shown at the cinema was 'Thunderclap', a silent film made in 1921 by the Fox Film Corporation. During the second world war there were some free performances, sponsored by companies such as Cadburys, no doubt promoting their confectionery. Cheltenham Film Society held their inaugural meeting here in 1945 and continued to show films at The Daffodil for several years.
Attendance fell away in the 1950s, with the rise in popularity of television, and the cinema finally closed on 7th September 1963. Continuing as a place of public entertainment, the building immediately reopened as a bingo hall. In the mid 1990s it became a successful restaurant, hosting such events as the Cheltenham Jazz festival, but this closed in August 2022 and the building continues for now as an occasional events venue.
Return to Daffodil Street and turn left into Montpellier Villas.
This point of interest is part of the tour: A Walk on the South Side - from Cheltenham to The Suffolks