Mark’s History: Remember The Lyric Cinema?


In the latest Mark’s History column, MARK STEVENSON looks at the old Lyric Cinema on Tong Road from The Three Musketeers with Douglas Fairbanks through to the last screening of Robin Williams’ Good Morning Vietnam

lyric cinema tong road 1
Old cans of film can still be found in The Lyric cinema, Armley. Photo: Mark Stevenson

The Lyric Cinema on Tong Road, Armley, was officially opened on 7th December 1922 by the Lord Mayor. The projection equipment was not fully installed so it was decided to hold a musical evening instead.

The lyric cinema tong road
The old projector is still there at The Lyric Cinema. Photo: Mark Stevenson

The first film, “The Three Musketeers” (Douglas Fairbanks) was shown two days later on the 9th December.

The lyric cinema projector
It may be a little rusty, but here’s an original cinema projector. Photo: Mark Stevenson

The cinema was to close on 3rd January 1976. On the 8th November of the same year it reopened with new owners. This was not to last long and the Lyric closed again on 30th May 1977.

lyric cinema leeds projection room
At the heart of the Lyric Cinema since December 1922 … Photo: Mark Stevenson

John & Rose Kingston again reopened it on the 10th December 1979. Final closure was to come on 1st December 1988 when “Good Morning Vietnam” was the last film screened at the Lyric.

lyric cinema tong road closed
Blast from the past – internal communications at The Lyric, Armley. Photo: Mark Stevenson

It was converted into a church in 2010.

Do you remember The Lyric? Share your memories in the comments section below.


  1. I used to go to the Lyric every Saturday matinee with my brother and his friend in the late 1940s. I thought it was wonderful but he got a bit fed up with me jumping up and down and talking all the way through. I’ve never changed – still boisterous and talk too much. When I see Laurel and Hardy and cowboy films I always remember those happy days. I often went with my mother as well, only barred if it was an ‘X’, never understood why.

  2. My first film to be seen at the Lyric was ‘The Wizard of Oz’ with my parents around 1955/6. Apparently I was heartbroken about the witch being killed by the house and sobbed all the way through the rest of the film. From 1960 to 1964 I regularly went to the Saturday afternoon Matinees there. And from 1965 to 1970 I used to go about twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, as they used to swap the feature film every Monday and Thursday. The last film I saw there was with my eldest son when he was about 12/13 years old and it was Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan made memorable by the fact that nearly everybody in the cinema was crying when Spock died apart from my son who remarked as we were leaving ‘I am the only one who didn’t cry at the film.’

    • Great film to finish on! The first and only film I saw there was Star Trek IV The Voyage Home in about 87 or 88. I went with my mother and we had the novelty of sitting upstairs. I’d love it if it was still a cinema now …

  3. In Coronation year we were supposed to go from Upper Wortley school to see the Coronation film at the Lyric, but the film didn’t arrive in time so we saw Ivanhoe instead.

  4. I remember going to the lyric with my brother and feeling very grown up when we were allowed to see a film alone.
    My great gran (Nanny) lived in Wortley so one visit to her we went to the lyric sole and it was a brilliant place which holds fond memories xx

  5. you willnever know the full story .or about the people who ran the place.why is it people never in the trade seem to know more about things than the people who know.sad.

  6. the Lyric! we used to call it” The Flea Pit” great memories I was at the matinee of a “Hard Days Night”
    with 2 friends my Mother was freaked out saying, the “Yobs” were tearing up the cinemas to dance…luckily my father said OK I was 11 going on 12 brilliant yep the “Yobs” pulled out seats at the back to make room and dance..they were great not threatening just good fun rocking out! brilliant memories

  7. I went with my 2 elder brothers every Saturday matinee in the 60s.
    I remember watching cowboys and Indian films and all the kids stamping their
    feet and shouting when the cavalry charged on their horses.
    I also remember when I was really young being scared to go to the toilet situated
    near the screen .
    I thought I would get beat up by the older boys so I would hold it in until we got outside.
    I also remember queuing up in a long line of kids down the side of the cinema.


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