Blackwood Miners' Institute

High Street,
Blackwood, NP12 1BB

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Blackwood Miners' Institute

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Not to be confused with the now demolished, Oakdale Workmen’s Hall and Institute (Picture House).

Gone from listings by the mid-1960’s, this Miners' Institute is still in use as a community arts centre owned by the local Caerphilly Borough Council. It was heavily renovated in April 1992. Currently it offers a mix of film and stage shows throughout the year.

Contributed by Editha Pearce

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on July 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Blackwood Miner’s Institute and Oakdale Workmen’s Hall and Institute Picture House are two different venues. Oakdale is a village on the outskirts of Blackwood town. The Institute Picture House was built behind the Oakdale Miner’s Institute and Workmen’s Hall, as with the Institute {or Stute as it was known locally} the Picture House was built from contributions paid for by local miners.

The Stute itself opened in 1917 the Picture House was built some years later although originally it was built as the “new hall” and converted to a cinema some years after in 1927, opening with a silent movie entitled APRIL SHOWERS and supported by a small orchestra who were dismissed a few months later to be replaced by Madame Templeman, appointed as musical director in 1929.

The last regular performance of a movie at the Picture House was in the late 1960’s although Saturday morning matinee’s for children continued through the sixties and early seventies, usually a CFF programme or a feature length film staring Norman Wisdom, Laurel & Hardy or the three stooges, a little later colour adventure movies such as Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts and the St Trinians series were shown on a Saturday morning to a rowdy crowd of local kids.My Sister and I would be there regardless of what was showing as would most of the village children.

The cinema featured a balcony and stalls seating 533.

The Institute was closed in the late 1980’s and rebuilt brick by brick at the St Fagins Museum in Cardiff. Unfortunately the Picture House was demolished as it was too big for the St Fagins museum.

Blackwood Miner’s Institute remains open and financed by the local authority, mostly for live stage performances with the occasional film show.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on November 17, 2009 at 11:09 am

Thank You Lost Memory for adding the workmen’s institute website URL and the Theatre Trust link.

During January and February of this year I was in Blackwood and noticed that the Institute façade was in a desperate need for a lick of paint and a general tidy up, this I understand remains the case.
Looking through the online programme once again confirms to me that the venue continues to be underused for film exhibition, a shame when you consider that until very recently there was no cinema competition nearby, therefore it has been a lost opportunity for the venue.

When first remodelled and restored a considerable amount of funding was provided to purchase cinema exhibition equipment including a large screen and projection equipment as well as Dolby Stereo. A few lads were also provided with training as projectionists, clearly underused I would imagine these lads would have moved on to work at Multiples in Cardiff, Newport or Bristol.

The venue appears to programme a varied calendar of live performances and community events.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm

A 2007 photograph of the Blackwood Miner’s Institute:
View link

ianmit78
ianmit78 on February 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm

The ‘Stute recently hosted a high profile Radio 2 'In Concert’ with local band The Manic Street Preachers. The gig was broadcast live on the radio and in HD as well as on the BBC Radio 2 website. Footage of the gig could be seen on the ‘Red Button’ up to a week later and press coverage, both local and national, was extremely positive.

Eric Evans
Eric Evans on February 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Just viewed a Welsh language programme on S4C “Wedi Saith, (After Seven) Not a mention of the building having been used as a cinema. Even had an elderly lady who has always lived in the district reminicing about everything except the movies, I think sometimes there’s a kind of snobbery by some theatre loving people against the cinema. Otherwise it was a good feature showing both the exterior & auditorium, which looked excellent.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on February 21, 2012 at 3:12 am

Hi Eric,

The Stute in Blackwood was not well known for showing films. During the early days they did screen films occasionally.

Most films were shown at the Palace cinema, the very first cinema in Blackwood. The Palace closed as a cinema due to the conversion of the much larger market hall {The Capitol Cinema} in Market Street. Later the Maxime Cinema was built in the High Street. The Stute couldn’t compete. The former Palace cinema became Babers furniture store and is now a Wetherspoons pub.

Later, with the closure of the Maxime cinema for exclusive use as bingo, the Stute was given a large grant and refurbished with the intention of it being a multipurpose venue for films and live performance, all badly managed in the early days. Nowadays it rarely shows films.

I sat through the programme you mention also. It is a shame that there was no mention of the venue showing films. Perhaps it was seen as too irrelevant for the content of the programme you mentioned.

Most Blackwood locals reminicing of cinema going in the town would mention the Maxime, others might remember the Capitol and a few might recall the Palace.

Eric Evans
Eric Evans on February 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Thanks for the info Jeffrey, I must admit I don’t know the area at all, I was just going by the Kinematograph Year Book for 1958. It states that they had British Acoustic sound system,405 seats and continuous performances. Proprietors Markham Village & District Miners Welfare.

Pity they do0 not have the occasional film show there now, or is there a multiplex to close maybe ?

Andrew69
Andrew69 on January 14, 2014 at 10:26 pm

I remember taking my then girlfriend Mandy to see ‘'Hook’‘ and the Blackwood miners on the 9th July 1992, I know the date as I wrote it in my 1992 diary.
I met her mother that night.

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