Figure 1: New Grand Opera House, Fifth Avenue, Pittsburg 1900. This Theatre house would soon change into ‘Nickelodeon’ the first theatre to show only movie screenings, making it the first cinema (Aronson, 2008)


A city holds many buildings that provide the public with entertainment and leisure. Theatre and Opera houses entertained and brought people together in the worst of times. Figure 1 depicts the beauty and elegance of the first cinema in Pittsburg. A cinema brought enjoyment and entertainment to all members of society.

Figure 2: This image represents Carnevale a Milano (1905) Bologna Italy, image shows a scene of military and people all gathering at a location to enjoy a movie screening. Despite the growing rise of Fascism. Identifier: UC-00059002_0 , Provider: EFG- The European film Gateway.

Cinema began its screenings in 1890, and caught the attention of people very quickly, soon cinemas began to be places of socialising and interaction. Figure 2 shows us a place of turmoil,rise of Fascism within the Italian police in Bologna, Italy before world war began in 1914(Dunnage, 1963). A cinema took the role of a getaway place where people left their worries behind and socialised.

Figure 3: Member of a comedy troupe, dressed as Charlie Chaplin, in conversation with a Scottish soldier at a horse show organised by the XIII British Corps at Ecoivres, 20 June 1917. Identifier: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205237654 Q 5524 object-205237654 205237654

Cinema not only brought people together in Cities, the iconic Charlie Chaplin brought joy to the faces of soldiers during world war 1. Despite all the violence and death in Europe at the time, people were joined together in one place to enjoy laughter and movies. Cinemas can be compared to cafes where people met to discuss business for decades. The only expeption cinema was not a place of business, rather leisure and entertainment.

Lost Brixton: Empress Scala Cinema/ New Royalty Kinema. Opening on 10th March 1911 as the Brixton Hill Cinematograph Theatre, the shop conversion at 101 & 103 Brixton Hill.

The Cinema industry started spreading and it was no longer just an european sensation, it was rather a global sensation. in early 20th century there wasnt many cinema theatres only cites had them. Looking at the world at the moment, not only cities but towns have them too, cinema stayed a place and space of recreation, geographically a city would not be complete without a cinema and its our societies demand to this day for cinemas to continue.

The ‘Grafton Cinema’ on 72 Grafton Street, Dublin, showing the film ‘Song of Norway’, first released November 1970. Opened on the 11th of April 1911, the ‘Grafton Cinema’ remained open until 1973 when the building was converted for retail use. RTE Stills Library.



  • Aronson, M. (2008) Nickelodeon City: Pittsburgh at the Movies 1905-1929,The Emponymous Nickelodeon, University of Pittsburgh Press, pp. 16-20.
  • Dunnage,J (1963) The Italian Police and the Rise of Fascism: A Case Study of the Province of Bologne 1897-1925, Preager Publishers, Westport,Connecticut, London, pp.50-61.