The Stockport Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre was built in the early 1930s in Greater Manchester, England. Architect, W Thornley designed the property in 1929, and it was completed in 1932. In 1967, the Plaza was converted in to a bingo hall and operated until 1998, when Mecca closed it and put the building up for sale. The Cinema Theatre Association and English Heritage had been successful in getting the Plaza Grade 2 listed in 1997 just before it’s closure. It is currently run by the Stockport Plaza Trust, the local authority having loaned the money for its acquisition. A programme of repairs and full restoration to its 1932 glory has been on-going since 2009.
The entire external façade has been completely restored to its original cream ensemble and sports a new name sign as well as red and green side panels, all constructed with neon lighting.
The interior of the building is Egyptian-themed and is said to have been inspired by the Paris Exhibition of 1925, with gold ceilings and bas-relief murals of nymphs. The auditorium has the same style, and features ornamental grilles, niches, cornices and decorative lights, topped by a large dome. A Compton organ was installed at the centre of the orchestra pit, against a square, decorative proscenium.
In 2009, Architect Liz Mather of Brock Carmichael Architects, specialists in conversation work approached Brintons as she wanted to recreate the original art deco carpets, they had black and white photos of the interiors which showed the design details but not the colour used. The restoration team removed layers of paint which had been applied to the doorframes and ceilings and analysed the date of the paint to see what colours were used in the period the property was built. The restoration team also visited Brintons archive to view hand painted art deco design papers to identify what colours where used in carpet design during the period.
Brintons Designer Jane Bradley-Bain recreated the carpet designs using the original photos and design papers from Brintons archive. Brintons supplied a purple geometric carpet for the basement, stairs, foyer and auditorium and a green carpet with an angular motif for the Cafe.
In August 2014 Brintons supplied further carpet for the circle and balcony areas using the design, which was used in auditorium, supplying over 2,431 sqm2 of Custom Axminster carpet in total.
During this part of the refurbishment the Plaza also installed replica seating which is an exact match of those in situ on opening night – October 7th 1932.
Gary Trinder, Vice-Chairman & Technical Director, Stockport Plaza Trust said,
“Brintons have supplied custom designed carpet for the Plaza Super Cinema & Variety Theatre Stockport which replicates the 1932 original. Their attention to detail and customer service has been exemplary. With expert fitting by Newards of Manchester the finished results are stunning. A job thoroughly well done!”