Southern Star Cinema

Main Street,

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Southern Star Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

In Midleton, County Cork, this building, at the junction of Main Street and Broderick Street, is believed to have been the Southern Star Cinema.

In the entry for the town’s Ormande Cinema, ArtDirector 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 end of the Main Street. I remember that the projection portholes were still in evidence years after closure. It later was converted to a 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.

When I visited, in August 2017, the building had been used most recently as a discount retail outlet, U.Save, but it was closed and up for sale (at €250,000).

Contributed by David Simpson

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

ArtDirector on February 22, 2018 at 2:53 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.

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