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The Scala opened on the 20th March 1913 with the film A Tale of Two Cities.
The balcony staircase was on the right, just past the cash desk.
In 1936 it was taken over by Byrom Picture Houses, run by Stanley Grimshaw. In 1938 Byrom was taken over by Regent Enterprises run by Philip Hanmer Hanmer sold the cinema to Jacey.
The room behind the windows at the top is the projection room. There was a door by the side of the paybox that led to the operating box. Westar projectors on Westar bases, Peerless carbon arcs, Western Electric Sound with four track magnetic. A slide lantern was also installed. The easi – fit changeover device was employed. There was hardly any projection rake.
Philip, Robert Hamilton was also known as Robert Godfrey. He was the father of R.H Godfrey, who was managing director of Cheshire County Cinemas. So it was run by the Godfrey’s from its 1915 opening but Godfrey/Hamilton may have formed Cheshire County Cinemas later. Regards, David.
Philip, many thanks for the info. When it re opened after the re-fit was it then owned by Cheshire County Cinemas?
Philip I have seen an ad advertising the Empress showing ‘Hearts Adrift’ on 21 December 1914 for three days and ‘A Lady of Quality’ from the Thursday. Do you know if the Empress Assembly Hall was the cinema, or some other building, because the Assembly Hall ad is from May 1914 and films were not being shown then. If films were shown at the Empress from 1913 it seems the Assembly Hall was a different building. The 1913 date put in the write up was changed by someone else. I had put it down as around 1920, obtained from another source. Thanks for putting it right. Your comments are appreciated. Hope you can shed more light on this. It was a great little cinema I visited it often.
Philip, I didn’t change the date. I see that in 1914 it is advertised as the Empress assembly hall.
Projection equipment was Westar with towers and Orcon xenon lamps. A Mr Geoff Mander once managed it.
This was the full house at the Troxy’s opening.
RCA photophone was the sound system.
The gala performance was on Saturday the 26th March 1955. The film from the 28th March was The Student Prince. Cinemascope was first shown at the Hippodrome in 1954 with the screening of The Robe.
I visited one on the island that had back projection. The film was The Alamo back in 1961. I think it may have been the plaza. I also saw On the Double with Danny Kaye. It may have been I saw that here.
Went to see whistle Down the Wind there in 1961.
A shame there is no photo. Unfortunately many cinemas now gone have no photographic record.
First projection equipment Kaplan projectors and Ashcraft Suprex carbon arcs.
Would be nice to see shots of the box. Philips DP 70 dual gauge projectors were installed to screen the road shows. I wonder what was there before? Possibly Kalee 21 projectors. If only I had gone around photographing some of the many long lost London cinemas when I was there in the 70s and 80s.
Originally opened by Regal cinemas and sold to Bedford Cinemas (1928) Ltd. I am told the Beatles often visited the cinema.
The cinema also screened Tom Jones, which had a long run there.
Opening film was called ‘Jenny Lind’. The supporting film was ‘Be Big’ starring Laurel and Hardy.
At first the shops on either side were not opened due to shortage of materials. The space was used for posters. Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE told me he would put up posters after the doorman, who did the job, was called up.
Saw a number of 70mm films there. The 70mm equipment was Philips DP70 projectors with Peerless carbon arcs. Chief operator for many years was the late Eric Norgate.
The projectors were Ernemann, made in Germany. They were the last pair shipped to England before the war. The chief operator was a Mr Frank Chipperfield. Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE started working there as a rewind boy when the cinema opened. He went on to become the first British Film Commissioner.
Former Liverpool projectionist Mike Taylor says he ran the Sound of Music in 70mm for nearly two years. The equipment was then Philips DP70 projectors. When it was the Paramount Simplex machines were in use. Kalee 21 and Cinemecanica equipment was also used when an Odeon.
The first film should have been The Drum but was changed to The Prisoner of Zenda.