Memorial Hall

Market Street,
Pen-y-Groes, LL54

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It was an Australian, Charles Beecher Jones, who introduced permanent cinema shows to Pen-y-Groes. He was an World War One veteran who married a local girl and stayed in Britain after the end of hostilities and took a lease on the hall that later became the Memorial Hall, running it with the aid of his wife and her family. Two years later he sold the lease and returned to Australia’s with his wife. The lease was now in the hands of a Mr Burrows of Porthmadog, who continued the cinema around the disruption of the enlarging of the hall to form the Memorial Hall which was opened in 1924, now with a seating caspacity of 500.

The cinema continued, converting to sound in 1930 although no records of which sound system was used remain.

The opening of the Plaza Cinema nearby in 1933 was the death nell of films at this venue, although there is anecdotal evidence that films were tried again at this venue AFTER the closure of the Plaza Cinema, but these were unsuccessful and the venue reverted to its previous usage as a community centre.

Contributed by Alun Turner
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