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I do not recall my mother mentioning Sid Deekes. However, if he retired from the Elite in the 1970’s, earning the accolade, “great,” it is conceivable that he worked there in the late fifties when my mother was there.
I remember mother telling me that when she reported for work one day she found the manager, Mr. Riddeford, most distressed and very upset. The screen had been slashed and it would take ABC’s Head Office two days to instal a new screen. My mother suggested that she could sew the screen, pulling together the damaged fabric, but did not know if it would be possible to show films on it. Mr Riddeford rang Head Office and reported, “One of my girls says she can sew the screen,” to which they responded, “Excellent, we won’t have to close, ask the girl to be in your office in ten minutes so we can phone back and thank her.” I suspect that employers were probably more appreciative of workers in those days than they are nowadays. Apparently, the films did not look too bad when shown on the damaged screen. ABC gave my mother an extra two complimentary cinema tickets for her trouble.
I have never heard mention of ghosts or the suicide of a projectionist in the 1920’s- interesting. My mother was very happy at the Elite and I think she would have enjoyed seeing this website with its comments.
My late mother worked at the ABC Elite in Wimbledon in the fifties. She came to this Country from Ireland and encountered a lot of anti-Irish sentiment. The manager of the ABC Elite, Mr Riddeford,liked the Irish and employed my mother as an Usherette. He then trained her to work in the Box Office. My mother often spoke of the people with whom she worked at the Elite with great fondness – Miss Casey, a relief manager, Mrs. Cohen who ran the kiosk, and Stan the Doorman. My mother made friends with a part time worker, Christine and they remained friends for donkey’s years after they left the Elite.