Our Story

Who we are 

We are proud to be owned and run by the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, a Community Benefit Society that reinvests the money made from its commercial portfolio to support a wide range of charitable commitments.

This unique financial model means that the money from those who rent our houses, shops, offices and industrial units goes directly back into the town.  This includes our grants programme, which in 2015 allocated than £420,000 on supporting community groups, clubs and societies as well as individuals who are striving to ‘Be the Best’ at music, sport, art and much more.

This income also supports the Foundation’s other venues and services including the Heritage Advisory Centre, Ernest Gardiner Treatment Centre, the Greenway (13.5 mile route around the Garden City), International Garden Cities Institute, Arts Centre, Garden City Collection, Minibus Service, Shopmobility Service, Standalone Farm and Local and Tourist Information Centre.

Keep up to date with all our news and events over the coming year by signing up for our monthly newsletter via the Heritage Foundation website.

How it all Began

Broadway Cinema opened its doors on 26 August 1936 to a packed screening of Follow the Fleet starring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.  This beautiful Art Deco building, designed by Bennett and Bidwell and built by Howard Hurst, fast became a popular venue for occasional rallies, speeches and live music from the likes of Acker Bilk and Marti Wilde.

Eighty years on Broadway is still going strong with live opera, ballet and theatre screenings selling out week on week.  This has resulted in Broadway being the top cinema in the country for live screenings.

Since 1955, it has been refurbished and redeveloped, and its transition into a digital, four-screen facility has allowed the Broadway to accommodate the increasing number of blockbusters released, working with our partners Picturehouse to offer the best programme. 

More recently Broadway Cinema featured as one of the pubs in the film The World’s End, starring Simon Pegg, which Director Edgar Wright filmed around Letchworth, giving audiences the thrill of being able to see the their home town on the big screen.

The Broadway is held in great affection by film fans far and wide who recognise its special place at the heart of the town’s history.

Looking Ahead

Building on the success of Broadway Cinema, all our arts venues have been brought together under the umbrella of the Broadway name. These new venues are a key part of the Foundation’s ambition to make Letchworth Garden City an exciting place to live, work and visit, bringing new creative jobs and visitors to our town centre.   

In February 2017 the next chapter in Broadway’s story begins when Screen One reopens as a creative space which will increase the range and scale of productions we can host – from theatre to children’s shows, live comedy, and acoustic music – and it will still screen the latest blockbuster films.  Alongside this, a newly refurbished bar area will open where customers can relax before and after films and performances.