The Piccadilly Cinema
The Piccadilly North Adelaide was opened in October 1940 by Dan Clifford, the managing director of D. Clifford Theatre Ltd. The design of The Piccadilly was carried out by Adelaide architects, Evans, Bruer & Hall, in association with prominent Sydney cinema architect, Guy Crick, who designed many cinemas around Australia. The Piccadilly had many significant features when it first opened, including a special ventilation system which drew out warm air and allowed cool air to be filtered though, as well as a specialty carpet made in London by the world renowned Templeton’s. Although the ventilation system is no longer in operation, the stunning design can still be seen throughout the interior and exterior of the building, where an exact replica of the original carpet is currently in use. Clifford chose the name Piccadilly to reflect both London’s Piccadilly Circus, or as it was then called, ‘the centre of the worlds traffic’, and Adelaide’s own Piccadilly region. To celebrate the Piccadilly name, Clifford commissioned a reproduction of the Piccadilly Circus mural by renowned English-Australian artist, F Millward Grey. The Piccadilly was created with the intention of providing a grand theatre for the residents of North Adelaide.
After Clifford’s death in 1942, his chain of cinemas were subsequently taken over by Greater Union Cinemas, who later renamed the cinema ‘The Forum’ and altered aspects of the building, covering up the Piccadilly mural.
In 1983, Bob Wallis bought the Piccadilly from Greater Union, saving the building from being demolished and, in the 90’s, converted the single-screen cinema into a three-screen layout. It has remained a Wallis cinema ever since. The Piccadilly North Adelaide is one of the oldest operational cinemas in South Australia and is a significant Adelaide institution, not only due to its architectural standing, but also its history of promoting Australian cinema, including housing the world premiere of such films as ‘Samson and Delilah’ and ‘Snowtown’.