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Hull’s National Picture Theatre transformation gets green light

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Plans to transform the former National Picture Theatre will now go ahead following a successful funding bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The £277,600 grant will include repair and conservation work, as well as the restoration of the facade of the building alongside its heritage features.

Its former auditorium will be used to create flexible space for events and as an education centre and a memorial allowing visitors to learn about the life of civilians in the Second World War.

The project will also see the National Civilian World War II Memorial Trust (NCWW2MT) manage the site as a memorial to the impact the Second World War had on Hull, with a comprehensive educational and learning programme included.

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A council contribution of £178,300 as well as a contribution from the NCWW2MT will serve as match funding required for the delivery of the project.

Councillor Aneesa Akbar, Chair of the National Picture Theatre group, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in this project which will, for the first time since it was destroyed in World War II, allow the public to access the building safely.

“There is so much history within the National Picture Theatre that is of national importance, and to have the opportunity to give it the attention it deserves is fantastic.

“I would like to thank the National Lottery for recognising the significance of this project and the local community for their great support during the process.

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Members of the National Picture Theatre project team can now prepare to start work on site.

David Renwick, Director – England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “It is fantastic news that thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to support the preservation of this important local landmark, and provide opportunities for local communities and visitors to explore the past and create stories for the future.

“This is also part of a much bigger regeneration jigsaw. We are very proud to be playing a key role in the transformation of Hull, ensuring that the communities and places which shaped the city are at the heart of securing its future and showcasing the positive impact that heritage can have on the economic regeneration of the city.”

The former National Picture Theatre was designed by architects Runton and Barry for the De-Luxe Theatre Company and was constructed in 1914.

The building was badly damaged during a Luftwaffe air raid on 18 March 1941, although none of the 150 people inside the cinema at the time were killed or seriously injured.

The former National Picture Theatre gained Grade II listed status in 2007 due to its significance as a rare surviving bomb-damaged building from the Blitz of the Second World War.

Air raids on Hull went on longer than on any other British city and, out of Hull’s 91,660 houses, only 5,945 survived the air raids undamaged.

Remedial work to stabilise the building took place in 2020 and now the major works are scheduled to begin later this year.

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