Southern Star Cinema

Main Street,
Midleton

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Southern Star Cinema

In Midleton, County Cork, this building, at the junction of Main Street and Cork Road at The Green, was originally the Southern Star Cinema.

In the entry for the town’s Ormande Cinema, Art Director commented, on 11th April 2003, that “There were two cinemas in Midleton. The Southern Star Cinema was a silent cinema. It closed when the owner was killed by a lion in Africa, according to local gossip. (This is Ireland don’t forget!) It was still standing the last time I visited. It had become an auction room and it was at the Cork Road end of the Main Street. I remember that the projection portholes were still in evidence years after closure. It later was converted to a Regency furniture store and evidence of its cinematic former self was lost”.

There is no mention of the Southern Star Cinema in the 1914 Kine Year Book. The 1931 edition does have it listed, owned by Southern Star Cinema Company. “Pictures and Variety” were presented, utilising a 16ft deep stage and two dressing rooms. “Two nights weekly” was also noted; whether this referred only to film shows is not known. The 1940 edition also mentions a 15ft wide proscenium. It was not listed in the 1953 edition; by this time, the same company had opened the Ormande Cinema, at which time, presumably, the Southern Star Cinema was closed.

Contributed by David Simpson

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

ArtDirector
ArtDirector on February 22, 2018 at 10:53 pm

The story about the owner being killed by a lion in Africa was told to me by my mother, who was born and raised in Midleton, so it is probably true. I inspected this building when it was an auction house in the early 1960s. The projection ports, high on the back wall were still in place. Like the Ormond cinema, it had high windows that were covered by shutters on the auditorium side walls. Perhaps this saved the cost of day-time electricity for cleaning? My mother told me that they had improvised sound effects behind the screen operated by a local person, or two. She said that they usully played the tune “ A Whister and His Dog” during the intevals.

Conor
Conor on April 15, 2018 at 8:33 pm

Hi amazing post and alot of information. Im a fan of history especially architecture and cinemas. The photo shown of it now is not the cinema that was a dance hall and it does look like a cinema so i can see how someone could get confused. The building this cinema was is now changed beyond recognition which is a pity as it was an amazing building. I think it was made from a military base base in Aghada. It was known as the flea pit cinema. And the other cinema here Ormonde cinema was built for the talkies in the late 40s.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 16, 2018 at 3:35 pm

conor:Many thanks for the corrections. I have deleted the two ‘incorrect’ photos of the dance hall and reset the Google Street view. Thanks for posting your vintage photgraph which give a good perspective of the location of the cinema.

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