Northern Ireland

North's oldest cinema to be restored to pre-war glory as it shares in heritage fund boost

The Strand Arts Centre in east Belfast.
The Strand Arts Centre in east Belfast.

THE north's oldest cinema is moving closer to its 1930s' heyday as it shares in a £12 million boost from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for its restoration project.

The Strand opened in 1935, and remains a working cinema as well as a venue for events including exhibitions and workshops.

The iconic Art Deco building, located on east Belfast's Holywood Road, was allocated £4m at the beginning of this year as part of the UK's Levelling Up Fund. 

It has now been granted a further £768,069 under the Heritage Fund to transform it into a "valued heritage asset" in a restoration project involving Belfast City Council. 

Read more: Strand Arts Centre wants your memories of north's 'lost' picture houses

"Visitors to The Strand Arts Centre will step back in time for a 'living museum' experience of a pre-war cinema, complete with the restoration of key 1935 architectural features, period-style decor, and engaging interpretive designs that unlock Northern Ireland's cinema heritage," a Heritage Fund spokesperson said.

Other historical buildings across the UK to share in the £12m fund include the Victorian Market in Cardiff, and the Ice House in Great Yarmouth.