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The Raven

This pub is a former cinema.

72–74 Walton Vale, Liverpool, Merseyside, L9 2BU

This is named after a poem by the famous American author and poet Edgar Allen Poe. James William Carling lies buried in a pauper’s grave in Walton Park Cemetery. Born in 1857, he became a pavement artist at five, later going to America, where he produced a series of illustrations for Poe’s The Raven. Unable to find a publisher, he returned to England where he died in Brownlow Hill Workhouse, aged 29. His illustrations are on permanent exhibition today in the Edgar Allen Poe Museum, in America.

A print and text about the Vale Cinema.

The text reads: Stars of the silver screen once kept cinemagoers spellbound on the site of this pub in Walton Vale. From 1922, it was home to the Walton Vale Picture House. The cinema seated 1,150 people – 850 in the stalls and 300 in the balcony. The first film screened was The Prodigal Judge.

Cinemagoers enjoyed a glimpse of luxury thanks to a white marble stairway, dark wood panelling and large plasterwork panels. Admission prices ranged from 6 (old) pence to 1s/2d.

In 1930 audiences were treated to ‘talkies’ for the first time. A Western Electric sound system was installed, and the first sound film shown was The Hollywood Revue, with an all-star cast. Known by locals as ‘The Vale’, the cinema soon became a favourite social haunt. In its heyday, queues outside were a regular sight.

CinemaScope was installed 25 years later, and the first CinemaScope film – Rough Company, starring Glenn Ford and Barbara Stanwyck – was screened on 18 August 1955. A general decline in audiences led to The Vale’s closure at the end of the 1950s. The final film, screened on 31 January 1959, was The Key, starring William Holden and Italian sex symbol Sophia Loren.

An illustration of Edgar Allen Poe.

An American poet and short-story writer, the pioneer of the modern detective story.

A sketch of this pub in May 1998, and 72 Walton Vale photographed in February 1998.

A stained-glass window depicting a raven.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: