Former Rhos Playhouse

Former Rhos Playhouse, Penrhyn Avenue

Now the Co-op store, this building was designed and built as a cinema, known as the Rhos Playhouse. It opened on 11 April 1914. The first owner and manager was Sydney Frere (1875-1948). His son Frank was killed in the Far East during the Second World War.

On Sunday evenings the building was used by George E Mellor to make silent movies. He formed a group called Rhos Amateur Film Productions, with its own group of actors. He was the director and cameraman. The group made the films inside the Rhos Playhouse on Sunday evenings. His wife Laura was his main female lead. His first film, The White Slaver, was a thriller, made in 1932. The second, called Nightmare, aimed to portray “the workings of an unhinged mind” and represented Great Britain in an international amateur-film competition, where it won second prize.

George Mellor was also a founder of Colwyn Bay Cricket Club and established a model railway company called GEM, from buildings on Rhos Road. GEM models are still produced by a company in Somerset.

The building, which is essentially a long plain stone barn with a very ornate marble front elevation, was designed by Sydney Colwyn Foulkes, the architect who went on to design some of the most distinguished buildings in Colwyn Bay. In the early 1980s, the building was leased to the Co-op and it became a food store. There are now no cinemas in Old Colwyn, Colwyn Bay or Rhos-on-Sea.

With thanks to Graham Roberts of Colwyn Bay Civic Society

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL28 4RN