On 29 February, student Chelsea James visited The Electric cinema in Birmingham with the simple intention of watching a film, however, the evening turned into a much more emotional scene, as unexpectedly it was the last night of showings that the iconic cinema would ever host.

The cinema, which opened back in 1909, up until its closure, held the title of the oldest running cinema in the UK. The small-scale theatre appealed to many due to its simple charm and characteristic art-deco feel which you could obtain just from glancing at the black and white exterior. The Electric offered an intimate cinema experience, showing new releases as well as well loved classics. The cinema received a steady flow of customers, and was enjoyed by plenty, so the rather sudden closure shocked many, who considered the Electric one of Birmingham’s untouchable gems.

Someone who was certainly surprised by the news was Chelsea James, a fan of the cinema who unintentionally attended the final screening that the Electric offered. The news reached an apprehensive Chelsea a couple of hours before they were due to visit the cinema, but it was clear upon arriving that The Electric’s appreciated years were coming to an end, “I still wasn’t completely certain that this was genuinely the last showing at the cinema, even though it was on ITV News, and we went in, and as soon as you walked in you could tell the mood in there was very sombre.”

The reason for the closure is still not very explicit- the owners of the Electric have claimed that they were unable to renew the lease on the property, however, there are rumours that the closure is part of necessary planning to build a 50-storey apartment block on Station street. 

The news came without much warning, and the final showings of films were a solemn scene, with people prolonging their visit with conversations with staff, extra drinks from the bar, and by simply remaining sat in their seats once the film had finished, in a display of devastation at the closure,  “No one moved when the film ended, which is what you’re meant to do. No one moved, and it was just very sad.”

Several petitions have been created in attempts to bring back The Electric and have received ample votes, however it seems that the iconic cinema is set to remain closed for the foreseeable future.