Picture House

Victoria Road,
Diss, IP22

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Picture House

The Picture House opened on 28th December 1914. It was rebuilt in 1934 as the New Picture House. The cinema was converted for ‘scope with the screen hung directly to the back wall. It did not possess a stage.

The Picture House was closed in March 1972, and has since been completely gutted for use as a store.

Contributed by Editha Pearce, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

PhilipClarke
PhilipClarke on April 10, 2016 at 12:10 am

The original Picture House opened on 28th December 1914. The commonly quoted date of 1916 is wrong.

popcorn_pete
popcorn_pete on July 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Run by Jack Jones from 1964 onwards.

PhilipClarke
PhilipClarke on July 20, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Pete,

I believe that Jack Jones was the manager of the Picture House long before 1964.

Although the old Picture House was built in 1914 by Henry Sullings, my great grandfather Edgar Stevens (1863-1948) had acquired a part interest in it by the mid 1920s. By the late 1920s he was its owner, although Bernard Sullings (1894-1981), the founder’s son, remained employed there.

Idris Rhys “Jack” Jones (1894-1972) came to Diss during WWI. He married Edgar’s daughter Evaline Marion Stevens in 1918, and I believe that he was employed for a while at the old Picture House.

When the new Picture House opened in 1934, the manager was Bernard Sullings, as confirmed by the opening day programme. It is possible that Jack Jones was the cashier at the time, but if not, he certainly held that role not long after (as noted in the Diss Express of 12th March 1937).

By 1944, as confirmed in the Diss Express of 11th February, Jack Jones was manager at the Picture House, although it is possible he held this role jointly with Bernard Sullings.

Edgar Stevens died in 1948, Marion and Jack Jones are listed in the Index of Wills and Administrations as two of the executors of the will, along with Frank Stevens, one of Edgar’s sons. Jack is described as being a cinema manager.

When Anglia TV came to Diss in 1962, they interviewed Jack Jones, naming him as the manager of the Picture House. Filming was undertaken in front of the cinema building.

If the manager’s role was a joint role at one time, it is quite likely that Jack Jones held it on his own from 1964 (the date that you gave), as Bernard was on board the ill-fated Greek liner TSMS Lakonia in December 1963. Although he survived, I can well imagine that the trauma he suffered would have lead to him retiring (in any case, he was nearly 70 years old).

In the Diss Town Guide of 1969-1970, Jack Jones is listed as the Picture House manager, but by the time the 1971-1972 edition was published, the role had been taken on by a Mrs Smith.

Philip

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