New Hall Cinema

High Street,
Bargoed, CF81

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Capelmawr
Capelmawr on July 27, 2011 at 7:34 am

Seating 1460 people at prices from 6d to 1/– in 1938, the cinema had a Sound Ltd sound system and the propreitor was Alfred Withers. By 1951 ownership was with Hanbury Palace & New Hall Cinemas Ltd, who controlled the other 2 cinemas in town, and seating had dropped to 1315 seats at 1/– and 1/9d. No reason is known for the drop in seating – this was pre-cinemascope – so lines of sight was not the reason.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on October 11, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Hi Editha –

edithapearce
edithapearce on October 11, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Greetings JMBrighton. I cannot get into your website from here. Have tried many times.It seems to be blocked at this end. Perhaps you could put the photograph you wish me to see onto Flicka? That site is not blocked and available to me.

edithapearce
edithapearce on October 6, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Both the Withers management and their projectionists favoured Peerless Arcs for two differing reasons. As far as management was concerned the Peerless arcs gave a better light and were lighter consumers of carbon rods than the Kalees. In normal use you could usually get five reels out of a negative rod and three reels out of a positive rod. The arcs were also easy to maintain – the mirror just needing a bit of de spattering each day and a wipe over with Windolene. The dowsers were two sided which meant that the operator on the number 1 machine could dowse the light whilst the number two machine’s operator raised or lowered the lights and drapes.

One of the operating perks of working in a Peerless equipped boxwas that the waste copper from the rods was collected in a tray. Projectionists carefully hoarded this copper and every so often it was sold off to a scrap dealer.

The Peerless arks could be controlled from the side, by left and right hand feed knobs, so that the projectionist could easily look at the screen and at the arc rod. Striking up an arc was very easy.
Kalees on the other hand had the controls on a two wheel (one rod) system that was not so easy to strike or check.

edithapearce
edithapearce on October 6, 2009 at 4:45 pm

The Withers Circuit had a preference for Westrex and Westar heads and Peerless Magna Arcs.A few of the larger cinemas were later fitted with Kalee 18s purchased from closed down (non Withers operated) halls.

edithapearce
edithapearce on October 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm

If the photograph you mention are of the last two Kalee Regal equipped boxes. Then identification of the box should be easy.

The Ninian had its two machine located in a pit and the rectifiers located on a higher step behind. The Globe had its two machines on a level with the RCA box on the wall between the two machines.

Following the coming of cinemascope. all of the Cardiff Withers halls, apart from the Ninian, were upgraded by 1961

edithapearce
edithapearce on October 6, 2009 at 4:33 pm

The other cinema operating complete Kalee sets in 1964 was the Globe in Wellfield Road. The hall contained two Kalee Regal Mk2s with Kalee 12 heads and an RCA sound kit that I would think dated from the late 1930s. However I cannot be sure about the dating of this RCA kit.
Whenever parts gave out on this ancient equipment, spare parts were purloined or removed from machines in the other Willis halls that had gone over to bingo or had closed down. The Canton Coliseum was a regular donor in this respect. It is for this reason that I’m sure the Coliseum never went back to films once it went over to full time bingo circa 1961.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on October 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Hello Editha, thank you for adding your comments, which I appreciate, as well as those added to the Blackwood Maxime listing to.
While researching the Jackson Withers Circuit I have found a number of conflicting pieces of information so it is refreshing to have feedback from someone who actually worked for the circuit â€" you are the only person to date, making you especially interesting.
The 1963 Kinematograph yearbook lists the registered office for the circuit as Park Place Cardiff with Hodge as MD and AJ Withers as Chairman. In 1937 the circuit is listed at New Hall Bargoed while in 1944 the circuit office is listed as the Albert Hall Swansea, the circuit was then trading as South Wales Cinemas.
You might find my website interesting and do feel free to contact me via the email link, it would be wonderful to hear from you.

http://cinemawales.homestead.com/INDEX.html

edithapearce
edithapearce on October 6, 2009 at 2:26 pm

As far as I can recall (I am now in my 70th year) by 1964 there were only two Cardiff halls operating Kalee sets.
The Ninian had a pair of Kalee Regal Mk1 arcs with Kalee 12 heads. The Ninian was notorious for its limited box space and tiny ports. It would have been well nigh impossible to have fitted Peerless Arcs into what was referred to by projectionists as the Nin Pit. I believe that it was for this reason that the Jackson Withers Circuit never upgraded the Ninian box equipment. I would add that the Ninian had a short throw and that the Kalee Arcs were entirely fit for purpose.

geoffjc
geoffjc on October 6, 2009 at 2:01 pm

A recent publication by Brian Lee contains a section on Cardiff Cinemas ,including one picture of an unidentified projection room with 2 black Kalees which Editha will probably be able to identify and give an opinion on whether 1960 is an appropriate date for the photo!

edithapearce
edithapearce on October 6, 2009 at 12:23 pm

I still possess a Cardiff Cinemas pay advice from 1961 . I was paid three pounds and ten shillings (after tax) for a Thursday, Friday and Saturday relief session at the Ninian. The document gives the wages office address as Windsor Place, Cardiff.

edithapearce
edithapearce on October 6, 2009 at 2:47 am

Although Julian Hodge was indeed the managing director of the Jackson Withers circuit he seemed to have a very remote connection with the day to day operation of the business. He was a name we had all heard of but with whom we never came in contact with and never ever saw.
The day to day managing of the circuit was mainly by written edicts to the individual hall managers and their supervisors. The last Cardiff area supervisor I had any contact with was Dai John who also managed the Plaza in North Road. I only took up projecting in 1960 after I quit my office job with Warner Pathe. At that time the Jackson Withers circuit had an office in St. Andrews Crescent
almost opposite St. Andrews Church. If the Jackson Withers circuit had a booking office in Bargoed? Then I was never aware that fact whilst I was with Warner Pathe.
I later did several stints at the Hanbury and also during that time no mention of a head office at Bargoed was ever made to me. In the early 60s the main management gentleman was a Mr. Henry Ponkin who was better known to hall staff as “Nero”. He got his name after having severe problems with a white sheet at a toga party. This disaster was photographed and the pictures were to be found in many Withers operating boxes for years afterwards.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on July 22, 2009 at 11:53 am

I believe the manager, Albert Jackson Withers, gave his name to the Jackson Withers circuit. This circuit was born in 1937 and partially financed through Withers friendship with Sir Julian Hodge, a curious and unusual alliance. From what I know of Albert Jackson Withers he and Sir Julian Hodge were chalk and cheese.

Sir Julian Hodge was born in London, he and his family moved to the South Wales Valleys, Blackwood, Bargoed, Pontllanfraith, eventually settling in Pontllanfraith.

The Jackson Withers Circuit comprised of more than 50 cinemas, mostly through acquisition of smaller independents in South Wales and the West Country, including Ebbw Vale theatres, South Wales Cinemas, Cardiff Cinemas Ltd and 15 other companies. Sir Julian Hodge became Managing Director.

I understand that the head office/booking office was listed as New Hall Cinema Bargoed.

Sir Julian Hodge agreed to meet me for an interview when visiting Cardiff from his then home in Jersey. Unfortunately he passed away prior to the agreed date of his visit. His colleague also agreed to meet me following Sir Julian’s death, unfortunately he passed away too! {bad luck or what?}

A representative of the Julian Hodge group agreed to meet me, however this never happened and I received no further indication.

Come on Editha Pearce, you must know more, get in touch and let us know.

geoffjc
geoffjc on April 21, 2009 at 6:10 am

All three of Bargoed’s cinemas were originally built pre World War 1. The Hanbury was substantially rebuilt and still stands, closed for some time, and is the subject of a planning application for redevelopment.
One of the cinemas traded as the “Cameo” in its last days, possibly the Palace though this needs confirmation before separate pages are created.

geoffjc
geoffjc on April 21, 2009 at 6:03 am

Local publications provide the following details;-
New Hall Playhouse built 1907 later became a cinema (date not given) destroyed by fire in 1958.The site was redeveloped as a Woolworth’s store, now closed.
A photograph showing the original interior is included and the outside of the building has “Bargoed Hall” in the stonework.
Directly opposite is the Palace Cinema which together with the Hanbury Cinema(originally an Electric Theatre) have A. Jackson Withers listed as manager in the 1920 directory.

edithapearce
edithapearce on April 18, 2009 at 11:52 pm

The proper name of this cinemas was indeed “The New Hall Cinema.” However the sign on the front of the hall read “ Cafe Cinema.”
Thus it was known to most Bargoed residents as The Cafe Cinema and was very rarely referred to by its correct name