REFERENDUM TO DECIDE WHETHER LEEDS SHOULD ALLOW CINEMAS TO OPEN ON A SUNDAY
1946 – 19 March
|Turnout||Less than 25%|
The proposal was bitterly opposed by the Leeds Council of Churches. The 112 polling stations opened from noon until 8pm on Tuesday 19 March, although most voting occurred after 6pm when people had finished work. Mr Turnbull, the chairman of the Leeds Sunday Cinemas Association commented, ‘The poll decides something more than an opinion on Sunday cinemas. It decides the right of the individual to do as he wishes and the right of the cinemas to render to the public the services they demand.’ The Vicar of Leeds, the Revd A. S. Reeve, a leading opponent in the campaign against Sunday opening commented that though he was disappointed with the result ‘it had been settled in a democratic way’.
The council then had to apply to the Home Office for permission to go ahead. The cinemas which applied to open on Sundays were: the Odeon, Gaiety, Shaftesbury, Ritz (Vicar Lane), Tower, Majestic, Assembly Rooms, Gaumont, Pavilion, Scala, Picture House (Holbeck), Gainsborough (Domestic Street), Tatler, and News Theatre. Cinemas in Leeds opened for the first time on Sunday 7 July 1946 when attendance was described as being ‘satisfactory’. For further reading see Yorkshire Post, 20 March 1946; Yorkshire Evening Post, 3 May, 8 July 1946.