The Palace Cinema opened its doors in 1912. The small picture house was one of the earliest purpose built cinemas in the Welsh Valleys.

With an impressive ornamental art deco facade housing the foyer where a small box office served to cater for the patrons buying tickets, further inside an equally small confectionary kiosk provided cinemagoers the opportunity to buy treats to eat during performances. Additionally a staircase took you to the balcony while double doors greeted you as you entered the stalls. Originally the auditorium seated 1,000 patrons, it was a squeeze, by the thirties, with the introduction of regular cinema tip up seating, and capacity was reduced to 800, still a substantial number of seats for a venue of this size.

For many years the Palace was a popular picture house for the town, offering an extensive range of big screen entertainment, almost all double bill feature films with a supporting programme.  As cinema audiences dwindled it is understood that the Palace ceased trading as a cinema in 1965, although some dispute this and believe it continued to show films through to the early 1970s.

Originally a small independent cinema it was acquired by the Wales & West/Jackson Withers Circuit sometime during the fifties. Following closure as a cinema the Jackson Withers Circuit swiftly converted the venue to use as a bingo Hall. Many locals remember it more so as a bingo hall rather than a cinema.

Bingo continued to be played at the cinema through to the late seventies or early eighties. The former Palace became a Grade II listed building, largely because of the ornamental art deco exterior. The building fell into disrepair and became a eyesore, unused for over twenty years, the interior became infected by rats while pigeons droppings caused considerable damage in the former auditorium.

With the threat of demolition a local residential group, 300 strong, protested because of the lack of action by the local authority, who failed to make necessary repairs to the facade, which was becoming dangerous. The campaign for action was a success and the former Palace cinema was restored at a cost of £2.25 Million. The auditorium area has mostly been demolished to make room for a new supermarket, while the original structure containing the foyer area and part of the auditorium has been restored and forms part of a new library and customer service centre for the local authority, opening to the public during December 2011. Once again a great community building has been put back into constructive use following a sympathetic restoration and avoiding complete demolition.

Risca lies on the South Eastern Edge of the Industrial South Eastern Valleys and as was common for most similar towns a coal mine brought wealth into the town supporting a pleasant town centre that was once a busy retail and leisure area. Following the decline of industry in the valleys Risca  found itself with a population without employment although the destruction as a result of little local work due to the coal mining closures has had less impact on Risca due to is closeness to Newport.
Tredegar Street.
Preperations for the restoration of the former cinema.
Former Palace cinema restored and in use.
Former Palace cinema restored and in use.
We have been unable to source photographs of the palace auditorium or foyer, while in use as a cinema or bingo hall. If you have any images that we can post here, kindly contact us using the email link on the main menu page.

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Welcome to an affectionate appraisal and tribute to the cinemas that entertained us in the South Eastern industrial valleys of Wales.
UPDATED - 2013
Welcome to an affectionate appraisal and tribute to the cinemas that entertained us in the South Eastern industrial valleys of Wales.
UPDATED - 2013