Listed in 1922 Kelly’s Directory as a ‘cinema picture house’ in Bowling Green, Stevenage. The proprietor was listed as Robert Towser, who came from a family of coal merchants with business in London, although they lived locally. However the building is known to be built in 1912 and eventually closed in 1961.
It remained at the top of the Stevenage high street for four years before it was eventually pulled down in October 1965. It was recognisable from its mock Tudor façade which dated back to the times when its name was ‘the Tudor Cinema’. Before then the building was simply known as ‘The Cinema’ and originally seated around 300 people. ‘The Cinema’ closed during the First World War due to a lack of projectionists and afterwards it took the name ‘The Tudor Cinema’ and eventually reopened again officially as ‘Publix’ at 1935.
The re-opening was in response to the Astonia cinema which had greater facilities, and so the ‘Publix’ needed the extra publicity to stay open. The ‘Publix’ earned the nickname the ‘flea pit’ after the reports of rats scurrying around the cinema floor and old out-dated wooden benches that could easily be tipped over. In its later years it started showing ‘X’ rated films to attract a dwindling audience, and the last film it showed was an Italian ‘X’ rated film appropriately titled ‘The Last Meeting’