Pavilion Cinema

Church Street,
Pontardawe, SA8

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My father told me that he used to visit this Pontardawe cinema before World War II. He said it was very run down at that time. I grew up in Pontardawe during the late-1940’s, but have no memory of it at all. No one in Pontardawe seems to be able to recall its precise location although its existence is recorded in several local history books as being one of three cinemas in the town. However there is no listing of the Pavilion Cinema in any of the Kine Year Books. There is also a record of the cinema being granted a licence in 1914. It had certainly closed by 1950.

Contributed by Editha Pearce

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

edithapearce
edithapearce on January 22, 2011 at 2:38 am

I’m now some 7000 plus miles away from South Wales and unlikely ever to return to the UK, let alone my home town of Pontardawe. However, the mystery of the Pavilion Cinema is still haunting me. I’ve looked every where on the internet but apart from a few name only mentions in local history documents ……. I’ve yet to find out any real details of its location or size. I note that Alan Turner appears to be on the spot and an expert at Welsh cinema research. Would he kindly consider looking into this long forgotten hall’s history with the aim of finally satifying an old lady’s curiousity?

Eric Evans
Eric Evans on January 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm

The Cinema Directory for 1958 has The Pavilion listed along with the Lyric & The Public Hall, I can only assume they had not deleted it from their listings as there are mistakes here & there in the book.
However it states that the building was on Church street, if that is of any help.

edithapearce
edithapearce on February 12, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Thank you for your very helpful and informative posting.
I was born in 1940, grew up in Pontardawe, and was by 1953 an avid cinema fan. Had the Pavilion Cinema been operational during my childhood I’m sure I would be able to remember it. I last visited Pontardawe in 1964 but still have vague memories of the buildings in Church Street. Sadly I cannot recall any building that might once have been a cinema.What I can recall is my father describing it as a tin box of a cinema with constantly failing projectors and always freezing cold in the winter.

Richard Louis Havard
Richard Louis Havard on May 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I was at school in Pontardawe from 1955-1961 and our Head Boy and Girsl, brother and sister, were the children of J Walter Bynorth who ran the Lyric and Public Hall cinemas. There was also a “tin shed” which was a Berlie Bra factory which I understood from local school friends( I was from Gorseion, outside of the local area) was the old Pavilion cinema. It was on the left going up the main road to Brecon after passing over the Square, set back in a side street almost opersite the church and before you got to the police station. I understand it had started as a skating rink, then a dance hall and only then a cinema.Listed in Kine Year Books around 1950-53 but with no details apart from the name. J Walter Bynorth ( how could you forget such a name!) is also shown running various cinemas in the South Wales in earlier editions prior to his move to Pontardawe. Hope this helps Editha. Richard Havard.

edithapearce
edithapearce on June 2, 2012 at 6:40 am

Thank you Richard. The penny has now dropped. I can very well recall the Berlei Factory as there was a thriving trade in distributing stolen bras going on amongst the young ladies of Pontadawe at that time. However, I never realised that the building had been a cinema. Though thinking back I can visualise the building and once went inside it and saw the layout of the sewing machines….. Yes it was the right shape to have once been a cinema.My first memory of the building was of it being the Berlei factory. The hall’s days as a dance hall must have ended before 1940 as my father moved to Pontardawe in 1940 and he said it was a cinema at the time of his arrival. I became a cinema addict around the age of eleven (1951) and the hall had certainly closed by then.

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