Gaiety Picture House

169 High Street,
Southampton, SO14 2NZ

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Gaiety Picture House

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Completed just after WW1 started and was opened by the Sherrif of Southampton, the Gaiety was a long-time favorite of countless "Sotonians."

It opened on September 26th 1914 with exclusive screenings of a three-part epic "Loss of the Birkenhead," a famous British ship. A full orchestra was said to be the best in the country by manager Arthur Pickup.

Located in the lower High Street and known as Southampton’s first "talkie" cinema, it showed Al Jolson’s "Singing Fool in September 1929.

Resplendent with a turnip shaped dome and a Mosque like architectural design the 1939 reconstruction and modernization managed to survive the second world war. There were double seats in the back stalls for dating couples which could be curtained over for "privacy."

Kirk Douglas graced the screen at the Gaiety’s final performance of "Detective Story" and the curtains closed for the last time in April 1956. Age, operating costs and location forced the closure and demolition.

Contributed by Simon Overton

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on September 26, 2007 at 10:17 am

The typical double-bill programmes at the Gaiety were always well planned with a specially related theme. I well recall going there on a very stormy Saturday night.
“War of the Worlds” and “When Worlds Collide” thrilled the jam-packed audience especially when the outside thunderstorm caused the projection to go crazy. This, in turn, had girls screaming while we boys made all sorts of creepy noises to add to the excitement.

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