Comments from HJHill

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HJHill
HJHill commented about Russell Street Picture House on Jan 21, 2022 at 1:08 pm

UPDATE/EDIT:

See “Photos” for the correct building which housed this cinema. The story is complex.

There is confusion about the opening day. The cinema opened on Boxing Day 1909. Christmas Day was on Saturday. The next day was Sunday, so Boxing Day was Monday 27 December 1909. Theatres and the like did not open on Sundays.

The Bioscope 11 August 1910, in an item about the near-completed ‘New Picture Palace’ on Cavendish Street, which opened on 10 December 1910, reported that the Russell Street cinema ‘was intended originally for a warehouse’. However, The Bioscope of 30 December 1909 had reported ‘the building is an entirely new one built specially for a picture hall’. If the latter is correct, the Picture Palace on Russell Street would claim to be Keighley’s first purpose-built cinema.

A personal advert for engagements placed in The Stage in November 1912 by (with apologies) Eric Cunliffe ‘A Coloured Ragtime King and C**n comedian’ appearing at ‘The Premier Picture Palace, Russell St, Keighley’ indicates that live entertainment was on the cinema’s programme. There are also newspaper notices of public meetings being held there, though the operator reneged on a Sunday afternoon booking by the Independent Labour Party in February 1916.

The ‘lessees’ in ‘1922’ (that information from Mercia Cinema Society’s Cinemas of Keighley & the Aire Valley) were Richard Ramsbottom and Arthur Lewis from Haslingden in Lancashire. Their established line of work was fish-mongering and fish & chips. They were the Russell-Street Cinema Co (not limited), created in March 1923. In April 1924 they were fined for infringing the Cinematograph Act. An exit was blocked with a couch and chairs, film was left exposed in the projection room where doors were jammed open, and people using an adjacent ‘dressing room’ were smoking. (This may sound odd, but a licence hearing in 1924 heard that live acts had one dressing room next to the projection room. The acts had to make their way through the audience to the front.) As a result of the April 1924 prosecution, the West Riding County Council refused to renew the cinema’s licence. The pair’s business failure bankrupted them. Their hearing on 6 August 1924 heard they had paid £900 for the cinema in May 1923, but were total novices and had not examined the books. Weekly takings averaged £25; and outgoings £35 to £40. The cinema was put up for auction in early April 1924, but was withdrawn when bidding stalled at £200.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Cavendish Cinema on Dec 26, 2021 at 8:33 am

The picture theatre on Cavendish Street in Keighley opened on 10 December 1910. It had a single, sloping floor and was operated by the owners of the Picture Palace on Russell Street (which closed in 1924). The architects were J B Bailey & son of Keighley. It is listed in the Kinematograph Year Book 1914 as the Electric Theatre with a capacity of 800. By KYB 1927 it had become the Palace operated by Keighley Palace Ltd.

Still called the Palace, it was sold in December 1952. It closed on 31 December and was extensively refitted, the proscenium moved back, and new equipment (presumably including CinemaScope) installed. It reopened on 6 April 1953, rebranded as the Cavendish. KYB 1954 has 600 as the capacity and Palace (Keighley) Ltd as the owners.

Commencing 8 June 1961 it ran bingo two days per week; then three days per week from 6 August. The last film show was on 13 September, and bingo took over. Along with neighbouring premises, it has been demolished.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Cosy Corner Picture House on Dec 26, 2021 at 8:10 am

The Cosy Corner Picture House opened 26 August 1912 in the former saleroom of Weatherhead’s auctions. It closed 30 March 1957. It is listed in the 1914 Kinematograph Year Book as having 800 seats and being operated by the Cosy Corner Picture House Co Ltd. The Ordnance Survey 25-inch map, revised in 1913 and published in 1919, shows the cinema was down a side-alley on the south side of Low Street. The 1890 OS map shows the premises described as Auction Rooms.

In the Keighley Year Book 1917 the seating capacity was claimed to be higher: ‘Cosy Corner Picture House Low Street. Proprietors Cosy Corner Picture House Ltd. This highly popular place of entertainment was opened in June (sic) 1912 and has accommodation for 1,000 people. High-class and up to date pictures have made the “Cosy” a household word in both borough & district. The management is in the capable hands of Mr Arthur H Needham who has had a wide experience in the world of entertainment. Secretary M.P. Cryer, Accountant.’

By 1938 Cryer was the sole owner. Western Electric sound came in 1930 and Cinemascope in 1954 (when the capacity was 600).

On a Keighley local history web page, in 2008 someone put: ‘I can remember going there when I was quite young and getting in on a Saturday morning by taking a glass jam jar. You were given a stick of barley sugar and had to sit in the PLANKS first 3 or 4 rows which were wooden and right under the screen. Came out with stiff necks. The cinema was off Low Street, down a little alley by The Fifty Shilling Tailors.’

HJHill
HJHill commented about ABC Theatre Blackpool on Dec 10, 2021 at 2:01 pm

This is surely an error. It is a photograph relating to Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Cinema on Oct 20, 2021 at 1:36 pm

According to The Bioscope of 13 January 1921, the cinema at Thurcroft had opened recently. It was said to accommodate ‘about 1000’. The KYB 1931 shows it had an ‘Edibell’ sound system. It was a Morrison system in KYB 1935 and BTH in KYB 1947. Edibell, incidentally, was the Edison Bell Co Ltd known mainly for its records up to the early 1930s when the company folded. Its horn speakers for cinema were designed by Paul Voigt - a name known to aficionados of hifi loudspeakers. The company was not, as is sometimes claimed, a subsidiary of the US Edison company.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Ritz Cinema on Aug 29, 2021 at 6:33 am

This photo dates from shortly after the opening in May 1939. According to Kinematograph Weekly of 22 June 1939, the projection throw was 137 ft and the screen 24 by 18 ft (4:3 ratio). There were “two Ross projectors with Type D lamps, two Ross spots, and a Premier Bi-unial slide projector”. The following week the magazine had a footnote adding that the sound was “Western Electric Mirrophonic”.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Regal Cinema on Aug 4, 2021 at 7:59 am

For accuracy: the rear of the stage of the Pavilion faced the far side of the Regal. The length axes of auditoria of the Regal and the Pavilion were at 90° to each other.

The auditorium at the lower left is a development that was stymied by the outbreak of the war. As a shell, it served as a wartime grain store; and looks not to have ever been fitted out and opened to the public. An auction advert from October 1940 called it the ‘New State Theatre’.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Pavilion Theatre on Aug 4, 2021 at 5:38 am

The mystery theatre was the never-opened State or New State Theatre.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Pavilion Theatre on Aug 4, 2021 at 3:26 am

In ‘The Stage’ on 17 June 1947 there was a display advert for the Denville Players which had repertory companies at several theatres from Guernsey to Scotland, and was head quartered at the Pavilion Theatre, Northwich. The advert described the latter as “this theatre converted from a cinema”.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Jubilee Theatre on May 1, 2021 at 10:19 am

This item from the Lancashire Evening News of 7 October 1938 gives the official opening as Wednesday 5 October 1938.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Grange Picture House on Jan 17, 2021 at 4:40 am

The auditorium rake followed the steep natural slope of the site; and one had the feeling of sliding forwards out of the seat.

The entrance shown in the photo was for the dearest and the mid-priced seats. The foyer had glazed, tiled walls (green and white, I recall) with doors either side of a central (dark wood and glass) pay box. The doors were at the heads of the two longitudinal aisles. One walked through the doors into a dark curtained triangle with the apex a few feet down the aisle.

Entrance to the cheap seats was via the right hand side of the building (shown in the photo), under a metal canopy to an entrance at the far end of the side wall. One entered a small lobby where there was a ticket counter in a wall opening; then walked into a dimly-lit a wooden box in the corner of the auditorium, turned right through double doors, and emerged at one end of the cross aisle below the screen (looming up on the right).

The only other cross aisle ran between exits located half-way down the side walls. It separated the cheap and mid-price seats. A heavy ornamental rope was hung between the rearmost cheap seats at either side of the aisle.

There was always an aroma of old-fashioned air freshener about the place.

There were three or four central large house lights hanging on chains from the high point of the barrel roof. They were hexagonal in shape, made of sheets of frosted/coloured glass, and very dated. They were supplemented with hexagonal-pillbox shaped glass lights fitted to the ceiling. The total effect was illumination with no atmosphere.

Above the screen (second half of the 1950s) was a pelmet from which the screen tabs hung in the air. There was no stage surface nor any sides into which the curtains were drawn. The screen was large and rather square, with Cinemascope shown as a rectangle across the middle. The masking did not move (if I recall correctly).

HJHill
HJHill commented about Grand Picture House on Sep 22, 2020 at 2:54 pm

The view in the exterior photo is on the east side of Manchester Road, looking south (i.e. up the gradient and out of town). Manchester Road’s junction with Croft Street is not very far behind the camera.

The pointer on the map is way out – far too south out of town. I have uploaded part of the 1921 15-inch OS map. It shows the Grand on the east side of Manchester Road just north of Clifford Street, which no longer joins Manchester Road. The site of the Grand is probably beneath the tarmac of the latter. There is also an aerial view of the district.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Grand Picture House on Sep 22, 2020 at 2:50 pm

The Grand was very close to the city centre.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Grand Picture House on Sep 22, 2020 at 2:34 pm

The Grand is the ‘Cin’ to the left of the words Marshall’s Mill.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Birch Lane Cinema on Sep 5, 2020 at 12:53 pm

The opening was on the 19th (not 18th) November 1914. It had been postponed from the 12th. (My sources are the Bioscope of 26th November and The Bradford Weekly Telegraph of 20th November.)

HJHill
HJHill commented about Alhambra Studio Theatre on Sep 3, 2020 at 2:15 am

The Bioscope of Thursday 9 April 1914 reported that the Bradford Picture House, owned by the Bradford Cinematograph Company, was opened by the Lord Mayor & Lady Mayoress on the previous Thursday, i.e. 2 April 1914. It had a Chinese-themed café called the Café Rendezvous. Not many days earlier, 18 March 1914, the Alhambra had opened to the public. The screen of the Picture House was against the back wall of the Alhambra’s stage. The two structures would have been in construction at the same time. Old photos of the “Morley Street Waste” with a sign up declaring it to be “The site (for the) New Alhambra Variety Theatre” show the triangular patch of land bordered by Morley Street, on the left, Great Horton Road, on the right, and the municipal Windsor Halls complex to the south.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Astra Cinema on Sep 2, 2020 at 11:11 am

The pin on the map is wrong. I have uploaded an aerial view that pinpoints the building at the junction of Bridge and Croft Street.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Gaumont Haymarket on Nov 22, 2019 at 4:00 am

Shortly after the Capitol closed (Sat 18 Jan 1936) on 22 January 1936 The Era reported:

“Many difficulties will confront the architects responsible for the rebuilding of the Capitol, Haymarket. There is an old stream under the site, for one, then the present circle will be extended to make a false roof.

It is unnecessary to the new cinema and the LCC will not allow the commercial use of a space above an auditorium."

This would suggests that there were no offices over the Gaumont. Or were there?

HJHill
HJHill commented about Odeon Tottenham Court Road on Oct 25, 2019 at 7:54 am

Sorry, but the above Flickr photo montage is wrong.

The Carlton cinema (later Gala Berkeley) was on TCR at the north side of Stephen St which is now bridged. The site of the front of the cinema is now largely the paved area (the building line was moved back) and the retail units (T2, Chocolat, and Leon). The BFI building on Stephen St is on land abutting the rear of the site of the Carlton’s auditorium. The Odeon entrance shown in the Flickr photo is at the north end of the TCR redevelopment – approximately where the entrance to the Majestic/Continentale cinema was situated. Two old buildings remain north of the Odeon and Ben & Jerry’s – ‘YouMeSuchi’ and ‘iSmash’.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Gala Berkeley Cinema on Oct 25, 2019 at 7:45 am

Sorry, but the Flickr photo montage in the above link is wrong.

The Carlton cinema (later Gala Berkeley) was on TCR at the north side of Stephen St which is now bridged. The site of the front of the cinema is now largely the paved area (the building line was moved back) and some retail units (T2, Chocolat, and Leon). The BFI building on Stephen St is on land abutting the rear of the site of the Carlton’s auditorium. The Odeon entrance shown in the photo is at the north end of the TCR redevelopment – approximately where the entrance to the Majestic/Continentale cinema was situated. Two old buildings remain north of the Odeon and Ben & Jerry’s – ‘YouMeSuchi’ and ‘iSmash’.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Gala Berkeley Cinema on May 29, 2019 at 11:48 am

The offices of the BFI (British Film Institute) are on Stephen Street in a building that abuts the rear of the site of the Carlton’s auditorium.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Odeon Shannon Corner on May 15, 2019 at 2:03 pm

The postcode and location mark are wrong. The Odeon Shannon Corner was in the angle where Burlington Road meets the A3 Malden Way. The text above correctly says that Harveys or Bensons for Beds (Google gives Harveys, the map on her gives Harveys) and the associated car park are on the site of the Odeon. The postcode is be KT3 4LP. I have established this from investigating Decca’s use of the site between Malden Way, Burlington Road and Albert Road. See my uploaded photograph.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Rialto Cinema on Dec 12, 2018 at 2:13 pm

The Yorkshire Evening Post of 28 Dec 1928 reported that Western Electric sound equipment had been installed at the Rialto. It catered for sound-on-disc (Vitaphone) and sound-on-film (Movietone). There were four horn speakers behind the screen covering almost all of the screen. Two were optimised for speech. Valves in the amplifier cost £30 each. The horns and the gramophone parts were manufactured by HMV (The Gramophone Co Ltd of Hayes). The whole installation cost £7,000.

HJHill
HJHill commented about Regal Cinema on Oct 7, 2018 at 2:47 pm

The following was interesting reading. I found it in ‘Cinema News & Property Gazette’ (a cinema exhibition industry trade paper) dated Tuesday 29 October 1957.

Granada TV have sought planning permission from Hendon Council to use the Regal Finchley Road NW for studios and offices. The application has been granted on condition that no more than twenty people are employed there at night between 11.30 pm and 8 am and the premises are not used in any manner which in the opinion of the planning sub-committee “is detrimental to the amenities of the locality”. The outside of the building will be unaltered.

HJHill
HJHill commented about London Pavilion on Oct 7, 2018 at 3:24 am

The opening night as a cinema was Wednesday 5 September 1934. The feature was ‘The Private Life of Don Juan’ starring Douglas Fairbanks.