A Heritage Lottery Fund project with

The Hyde Park Picture House

Celebrating & renewing

Our historic cinema for all

The Picture House Project.

Sketch of building exterior showing new extension.
3D render of exterior during daytime 3D render of exterior during daytime

A bright future ahead.

Over a century on from our opening night, the Hyde Park Picture House is embarking on an exciting new chapter.

Thanks to backing from the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as continued support from Leeds City Council and our valued Friends and partners across the city, our Grade II listed cinema is being renewed.

The Picture House Project means looking backwards as well as forwards – it’s about protecting and preserving our historic features, while at the same time making the building more sustainable, more comfortable and more accessible, as we strive to be the best place to experience film in Leeds.

The redevelopment of the Hyde Park Picture House is a Heritage Lottery Fund project supported by Leeds City Council

Project timeline.

Dec 2005

Early feasibility study

The Hyde Park Picture House commissions an earlier feasibility study, exploring the potential of development, in particular, the possibility of transforming the cinema’s basement into a second screen. The results confirm the potential for expansion.

Nov 2014

Cinema’s Centenary

Leeds Grand Theatre & Opera Ltd (the parent company of the Picture House), together with cinema management, mark the milestone by committing to look into ways to secure the building for the future.

May 2015

Friend’s pledge support

The Friends of Hyde Park Picture House pledge their support and funding, to commission a new feasibility study, which, if successful, would form the basis of a funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Jul 2015

Feasibility study

DCA Consultants, Adam Richards Architects and Buro Happold Engineers are appointed to work on the new feasibility study, which will lead to significant structural surveying, cost estimates, audience consultation work and RIBA Stage 1 design proposals.

Jul 2016

HLF Round 1 Approval

Following a successful Round 1 application, The Picture House Project is awarded £2.4million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (pending a successful round 2 application) which includes £122,000 development funding over the next 24 months.

Feb 2017

Engineers appointed

Buro Happold Engineers are appointed to continue work on the project, with Christine Lowry appointed project lead.

Mar 2017

Architects appointed

Glaswegian based practice Page\Park are appointed as architects for the project, based on their impressive track record of working with historic arts venues including Glasgow’s Theatre Royal. Eilidh Henderson is assigned as the lead project architect.

Mar 2017

Further appointments

Further appointments to the design team are confirmed, including business and activity planners DCA Consultants, quantity surveyors Gardiner & Theobald and project management support from Turner & Townsend.

May 2017

Fundraising planning

A fundraising group is formed, consisting of staff, volunteers, Friends and partners. Consultant Anna Scrine facilitates a session to help form a fundraising strategy and a plan for raising additional money.

Jul 2017

Structural surveys

Structural surveys are carried out at the Picture House, including a 3D building survey, topographical survey, CCTV drainage & utilities. These are crucial in allowing engineers and architects to progress with the next stage of design work.

Sep 2017

Friends & board meetings

Lead architect Eilidh Henderson formally presents to a meeting of the Friends of Hyde Park Picture House, as well as the Board of the Picture House, updating them on the project’s progress, as well as sharing draft design proposals for feedback.

Oct 2017

HLF mid-stage review

The design team formally meet with the Heritage Lottery Fund, to update them on the progress of the project’s development phase. Updates include prospective building works, conservation plans, as well as business and activity preparations.

Jun 2018

Planning approval

Following discussions with consultees and the Leeds City planning team, Planning Permission and Listed building Consent have been granted for the Picture House Project.

Sep 2018

HLF round 2 submission

The Project formally submits an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for Round 2 approval, allowing the delivery stage of the project to begin. A decision is expected in December 2018.

Jan 2019


The Heritage Lottery Fund approve the project, confirming the full £2.3million grant, allowing the project to enter its delivery stage. Vital match-funding support is also confirmed by Leeds City Council and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Oct 2019

Project tendering

Full project tendering begins, relating to capital and refurbishment works.

Jan 2020

'The Next Chapter' Event

The Picture House holds an event to update press and partners on the project so far and plans for 2020, including its off-site programme and the announcement of a new patron.

Feb 2020

Off-site programme begins

As the Picture House prepares to close, the cinema’s On the Road programme begins, with 12 months of pop-up screenings taking place in venues across the city.

Mar 2020

Cinema closes

The cinema closes its doors ahead of redevelopment work beginning on site.

Apr 2020

Temporary pause

As a result of COVID-19 and the effects of the pandemic on the delivery of the project, work on site is currently paused, with the aim to resume in early 2021.

Feb 2021

Work to begin following Capital Kickstart award

Thanks to new funding support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Culture Recovery Fund, work on the project will now begin from this April.

May 2023

Picture House to reopen

Following an extended period of closure, the Hyde Park Picture House will fully reopen its doors by the summer, screening a full programme of films and live events.

A precise reopening date has yet to be announced. Please check back here later for more details.

Project updates.

Stay up to date with the latest building and conservation work as it happen on site, and follow the journey of The Picture House Project so far.

Project aims.

our aims

Protecting and preserving our historic cinema

Exploring, celebrating and conserving the cinema’s rich heritage lies at the very heart of this project. From refurbishing our unique gas-lights and Edwardian plasterwork, to maintaining our ability to project and share traditional analogue film formats - the project will ensure our historic Grade II listed cinema is preserved for many years to come.

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As the only remaining gas-lit cinema in the UK, our nine gas lamps are a key heritage feature. As well as refurbishing them we’ll also help preserve the skills required to maintain them, ensuring they keep flickering in our auditorium long into the future.


Elements of the cinema need urgent help to reinstate their former glory. From the ornate plasterwork and iconic clock in the auditorium, to exterior façade and original terrazzo tiles, we’ll sensitively clean, restore and refurbish features throughout the building.

35mm film.

Two 1960s Cinemeccanica projectors and a well-trained projection team enable our continued screening of film from 35mm prints. We’ll ensure equipment and skills are properly maintained, but also increase projection room tours to help share the history and tradition of film.


Row of seats in main cinema auditorium Row of seats in main cinema auditorium

our aims

A building open to everyone

A fundamental aim is for the Picture House to become a space that is truly accessible for all. This means implementing step-free access to all major parts of the cinema, providing better facilities including accessible toilets and working hard to remove non-physical barriers too - so that all audiences, regardless of their background, feel safe, comfortable and welcome in our building.

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Because of its age, our building isn’t adequately accessible. Steps at the main entrance mean people in wheelchairs enter through an awkward side entrance, and none of our toilets are step-free. We’re going to change this, creating step-free access to most of the building.

New facilities.

New toilets will be wheelchair accessible and offer baby changing facilities. Improvements will be made to our subtitling and audio description screenings, and a new café/bar area will put an end to early arrivals waiting outside in the cold.

A safe space.

Access barriers aren’t always physical. For visitors with autism or dementia, those who are deaf or blind, or who are old or young - going to the cinema can sometimes be a challenging experience. We’ll ensure these audiences are consulted and considered, so that our building welcomes everyone.


Looking down onto the stained glass and stairs from the upper floor. Looking down onto the stained glass and stairs from the upper floor.

our aims

Creating the best film watching experience in Leeds

Whether you’re into world cinema, timeless classics, or the latest award winner – we’ll be able to bring you more of what you love. A second screen in the basement will mean twice as many films, and a programme with even more variety. And with the refurbishment of our existing auditorium, including upgraded projection technologies and improvements in comfort, we’ll be the best place in Leeds for you to experience your new favourite film.

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A second screen.

Converting our existing basement into a permanent second screen seating 40-60 people will mean a programme with twice as many showings, and significantly more specialised film titles. That means more of the best foreign language, documentary and independent films being screened in Leeds.

More comfort.

Our main auditorium will receive much-needed refurbishment, maintaining character and heritage while improving comfort. Environmental performance will improve thanks to sophisticated new ventilation, allowing the cinema to be the right temperature whatever the weather.

Upgraded technology.

Our aim is to be a historic cinema but also a truly modern one, so we’ll maintain our 35mm projectors while upgrading our digital ones too. Investment in our sound system, cinema screen and dedicated team of projectionists means you’ll be seeing movies in their best possible light.


Rows of seats in the main auditorium. Rows of seats in the main auditorium.

our aims

A picture house that works for its community

With a building that’s open for longer, more accessible and able to provide more multifunctional space, we’ll be able to do more to serve our local community. From local schools and universities, to charities and community groups; this project will allow us to better fulfil one of our core aims: ‘for the cinema to be seen as a progressive cultural organisation, a safe space and an essential hub within our community’.

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A new café/bar.

Made possible by an extension along the long north side of the building, this will transform the way the cinema interacts with its community, quite literally opening up the building to provide a safe, welcoming space people can pop-in, hang-out and call their own.

Flexible spaces.

Our new spaces will be multifunctional. New breakout spaces will be available for use by the local community for workshops and meetings, and our new basement screen will support education and dialogue by additionally accommodating lectures, presentations and discussions.


We’ll create new partnerships to help us reach new audiences, developing learning programmes with schools to engage young peple, hosting more reminisce screenings for people who are older, and doing much more to involve Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic audiences.


Exterior shot of Hyde Park Picture House with terraced houses visible in distance. Exterior shot of Hyde Park Picture House with terraced houses visible in distance.


Auditorium & 1st Floor


2nd Screen
The end

Meet the model maker

We spoke with Andrew from Page\Park Architects, who hand-crafted our beautiful model. Hear about his unique process and how he became an architectural model-maker - one of only a handful in the UK today.

Explore the model

Throughout development, Page\Park Architects have utilised an in-house model maker to bring their plans to life.

As plans have matured and changed shape, so too has the model, providing an invaluable tool for communicating the vision of the picture house project.

Explore the model inside and out to discover how we plan to preserve and renew our century-old cinema.

Step-free access

A new ramp at the front of the cinema will extend from the pavement to the main entrance, providing step-free access to the building. New seating will run alongside the ramp, providing a communal space for those meeting friends outside.

Restored façade

The existing façade will not be altered – instead it will be repaired, cleaned and restored to its former glory, with new lighting ensuring it shines brightly both day and night.

New extension

An essential part of the project is a brand new extension alongside the cinema’s north-facing wall, allowing for vast improvements in space, access, and sustainability. The design, which respects, complements and takes inspiration from the original building’s iconic entranceway, is also proudly contemporary. New windows help better connect the Picture House with its local community, encouraging local residents to explore inside.

Refurbished auditorium

While the auditorium won’t undergo any fundamental alterations, key heritage features including the gas lighting, balcony and plasterwork will be repaired and restored. New tech upgrades will improve the cinema’s projection, sound and live-event capabilities, ensuring the auditorium is also a modern, versatile and enjoyable space for audiences.

Platform lift

Alongside a staircase at the far side of the extension, a wheelchair accessible lift will also be installed, providing access to all three levels.

New toilets

Two new gender-neutral toilets will sit on the first floor of the extension, accessible via a short flight of stairs and positioned directly next to the lift.

Break-out space

A multi-functional room will take up most of the first-floor, offering much needed space that will be used for range of purposes. As well as a providing a place that audiences can enjoy before heading into a film, it will also allow the cinema to run more workshops and sessions as part of its growing activity programme, as well as offering a meeting area in the daytime for local groups, charities and schools.

New auditorium entrance

A new, larger entrance to the auditorium will be installed. This will feature two doors, with an acoustic lobby inside, helping to prevent sound bleed from the foyer into the auditorium.

Accessible toilet

A new wheelchair accessible toilet will be positioned in the foyer, helping wave goodbye to 104 years of inaccessible toilets at the Hyde Park Picture House.

Box office & bar

The cinema’s box office will expand by moving inside, allowing multiple customers to be served more quickly. This will be combined with a new kiosk/bar, allowing a greater selection of refreshments to be sold than previously possible.

Expanded foyer & café

The foyer area will grow in two ways. The back wall of the foyer will extend further into the auditorium to house the new box office, this will in-turn create more space in the immediate entranceway. The new extension will then provide significant new foyer space, housing a café/bar area, allowing customers to enjoy a drink before and after the film.

Break-out space

A cosy seating area will be located in the basement, offering additional space for customers to enjoy before seeing a film.

New toilets

Additional gender-neutral toilets will be housed downstairs too, positioned next to the lift. This will bring the total number of cubicle toilets in the cinema to seven (up from the current number of three).

Brand-new 2nd screen

A brand-new, state-of-the-art, 50-seat auditorium will be built in the cinema’s large basement. Positioned directly under the existing auditorium, and housed in a soundproof box, this second screen will transform the Hyde Park Picture House’s ability to bring even more independent and world cinema to Leeds, improving both the diversity and flexibility of the cinema’s film programme. It will also provide a space for more extracurricular events, from talks and presentations, to more screenings from artists and local filmmakers.

Explore our history

Our funders.