ABERDARE
Welcome to an affectionate appraisal and tribute to the cinemas that entertained us in the South Eastern industrial valleys of Wales.
UPDATED - 2013
UPDATED - 2014
NEW TREDEGAR
Welcome to an affectionate appraisal and tribute to the cinemas that entertained us in the South Eastern industrial valleys of Wales.

Initially the cinema operation of the venue was programmed and operated by Attwood Theatres Ltd, which was unusual, they continued to be responsible for the cinema operation from the opening through to the late forties when the cinema operation was taken over by Mr F.A. Cam, director of New Tredegar Theatres Ltd. Mr Cam was also a Director of Wales and West Cinemas which was part of the Jackson Withers Circuit. Under the operation of Mr Cam, seating was increased slightly by the 1950s and the auditorium now seated 1,075, an increase of 75 seats.
EMPIRE CINEMA
Tredegar Road.
OPENED: TBC CLOSED: 1977 SEATING CAPACITY: 1075 OPERATOR: H.S. SIMPSON/ATTWARD THEATRES LTD/JACKSON WITHERS CIRCUIT PROSCENIUM 00FT SCREEN{S} DEMOLISHED.

Originally the Empire Club, the traditional stone built Workmen’s club featured a popular concert hall, with films becoming very popular the empire Workmen’s club soon became known as the Empire Cinema. Tragedy struck the Empire in 1930 when a huge fire ripped through the building, completely destroying the original structure which was built in the traditional church type hall style.

The original hall was registered to the proprietor and resident manager H.S. Simpson of Clare Street, Cardiff.

Following the fire it was decided that the remaining walls were unsafe and the building should be demolished. A new purpose built Empire Workmen’s Hall was built a few years later, the new structure dominated the hillside. In addition to the usual services and features that were common with Workmen’s Institutes throughout the valleys there was a large hall with seating for 1,000 patrons on two levels, stalls and balcony, The Empire Cinema as it was known as offered a full programme of films with a change of programme once a week. The new build Empire was built of red brick traditional in the valleys with the front façade decorated in plaster and painted to maintain a good appearance. 
During its operations as the Empire Cinema the building was well maintained and turned over a reasonable profit, even though there were two additional cinema choices in the nearby town of Tredegar itself. One of these two venues was also operated by Mr Cam and Wales and West Cinemas, trading as Tredegar Theatres Ltd.

As the traditional industries throughout the valleys came to an end the finances at the Empire Workmen’s club and cinema dwindled to crisis point. The cinema closed during the seventies and the façade and building started to fall into disrepair, by now the Empire is looking very sad to passers-by and becoming an eye sore.

During the very late nineties the venue operated only as a members club but continued to struggle. The expansive roof had fallen badly into disrepair and was in urgent need of replacing. An application was made for local authority/lottery funding which was successful and a new roof was added to the building. A short time after the new roof had been completed the building was put up for sale, there was no interested parties for the purchase and continued operation of the business and the building was sold for redevelopment a short time after, circa 2009. With this mighty landmark demolished there is no evidence remaining of this once popular entertainment venue, new houses have been built on the cleared site.

The photographs shown here illustrate the imposing structure built following the 1930 fire which destroyed the original hall completely. the new hall dominated the town.
PALACE CINEMA
Empire Road.
OPENED: TBC. CLOSED: 1960 SEATING CAPACITY: 391 OPERATOR: JACKSON WITHERS CIRCUIT PROSCENIUM 00FT SCREEN{S} UNKNOWN.

It is unclear when the Palace cinema opened, there is no listing for the cinema in 1929 or 1934 however it was successfully trading from the mid to late forties, with seating for 391 patrons on one level the Palace was a much smaller venue although highly popular. The venue was also registered to New Tredegar Theatres Ltd and the company director was once again Mr F.A. Cam, head office was now listed as the New Hall cinema Bargoed, the Jackson Withers H.O. prior to relocation to Cardiff.

The Palace cinema closed on the 20th February 1960 while the Empire continued to screen films for a while after that date. Films remained popular in the 1960s but audience figures and ticket sales had reduced considerably with bingo and television attacking the cinema audiences. It is unclear if bingo was played at the Palace cinema after closure. It is highly likely as the Jackson Withers circuit had switched a number of the smaller and less popular cinemas to bingo during the sixties, although it is known that there were regular games of bingo at the Empire during the sixties and seventies.
WE HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO SOURCE IMAGES OR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS VENUE, IF YOU CAN ASSIST PLEASE CONTACT THE WEB MANAGER.
There is very little information or photographs on these two popular picture houses that once entertained the community surrounding New Tredegar and Phillipstown. Any assistance or information and corrections you have will be most welcome and highly appreciated.
Located between Bargoed and Tredegar in the former industrial Rhymney Valley and former West Monmouthshire boundary, New Tredegar is a typical mining community town. Although the town enjoyed easy access to the cinemas of Bargoed, Blackwood and Tredegar, this small community once boasted two cinemas of its own.

In common with other towns in this area, New Tredegar struggled following the decline of industry in the valleys. There is little evidence of the traditional industries in this area nowadays and little evidence remaining of the two cinemas that once entertained the residents of New Tredegar.