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The Princess Picture Palace, High Street, Rawmarsh was opened on 4th March 1912. It was converted from the Rawmarsh Weslyan Chapel after a new Chapel was built further down High Street, almost across from where the Regal Cinema was later built. Seating at the Princess Picture Palace was for 600 and was run by the Princess Picture Palace (Rawmarsh & Barnsley)Ltd. The cinema was described in a local paper as being ‘Clean, cosy and comfortable where clean enjoyable entertainment is assured’.
In 1917 the cinema was taken over by a Mr Thomas Robinson who very quickly became known as ‘Robby’ to all the cinema patrons. An immaculately dressed man who stood in the foyer with cigar in hand to greet his patrons. He became known to the people of Rawmarsh as ‘Mr Entertainment Himself’. Sound was installed in 1930, with Cinemascope wide screen arriving at the Princess in 1955 after Mr Thomas Robinson Jnr. took over from his father. I remember being taken by my Grandmother to see Howard Keel & Ava Gardener in the film “Showboat” c1960, and all I can remember about the auditorium is that it was quite steep and the screen was fitted with white silk tabs.
The Princess Cinema closed on 1st December 1962 with vandalism and bingo being blamed for its demise. It apparently always did well with horror films and I remember it played many of these during its last years, which is why as a young boy I only ever visited the cinema that one time – I was too young for X certificate films! The building was demolished in 1966 for the road widening of High Street.
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