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Bridlington Cinemas - Through the Years

Sarah Hutchinson

The following information was kindly provided by Sarah Hutchinson who works at Bridlington Central Library.   The library has many old photos and images that we havent been able to include in the information below, however they would be very happy to provide any further  information should you wish to contact them. The telephone number for the library is 01262 672917 and their email address is  bridlingtonlocalstudies.library@eastriding.gov.uk

Victoria Rooms built 1846. Showed films from1909 or 1910, closed 1923

Grand Pavilion (Royal Prince's Parade) Built 1906. Cinema opened 1910 and closed early 1930s.  Building was demolished in 1936

People's Palace Built in 1895 or 96. Cinema opened Aug 1910, renamed Palace Picture House in 1912. Bombed and closed in 1940

Picturedrome, Adelphi (1924 or1930), Roxy (1935). First film in 1911. or 1912. closed 1962 or 1964

Coliseum1922 - 1924, Winter Gardens 1924 - closed 1982.Building demolished in 1991/2

Field's Oriental Lounge. Opened 1912 or 1914, cinema from 1921 or 1931 – closed 1961 or 1964

Regal, A.B.C. Regal (1950's) Opened 1938, closed 1971 or 72

The Forum opened in July 1992 and is still open

Spa cinema showing films from 1909 to 1915 and after break, 1981 and is still open.

In Bridlington in the 1920s, school children in December would have a 'treat' day, where the cinemas would show free films, then afterwards, the restaurants in town would treat them all to a free meal. Thanks to Mr Nicholls for this information.

In an article in the Bridlington Free Press we read that 'at the outbreak of the Second World War there were five cinemas in Bridlington.

The five operating in the 1930's were: the Lounge,...the Palace, originally near the Palace car park and later demolished: the Regal in Promenade; the Winter Gardens, now demolished, also in Promenade, a little further along; and the Roxy, in Quay Road. Going further back there had been at least two more, the Picturedrome and the grand Pavilion Cinema.

Following the closure of our local cinemas, the Spa Theatre took to showing films. Then The Forum, in Promenade, Bridlington's first multi-screen cinema, started operating on July 18, 1992 and is still popular today.

During their heyday, about 1935-50, even the smallest town had its own cinema.

In the Bridlington Free Press of 1933 there is a list of what the three cinemas – the Lounge, the Palace and the Winter Gardens were screening

Victoria Rooms
Showed films from 1909 until 1923 Then it reverted back to being a theatre.
The building burnt to the ground on September 22nd, 1933 – and was said to have been the oldest entertainment venue in the East Riding.
There was seating for 600 people.
The manager was Mr Charles Palmer.


Grand Pavilion
Moving pictures were first shown in 1906 evidently, Films in 1911
It seated 2000 in 1913.
It closed in the early 1930s and was demolished in 1936.


People's Palace becoming Palace Picture House, then the Hippodrome, in 1911
The People's Palace was built in 1896, in the grounds of former villa 'Rosendale'. The villa remains – it fronts on to Prospect Street. If you go through glass door, turn left you will see original bannister of Rosendale House. This 'disappears' in to the building as it is now partitioned off in to offices. It was renamed the Hippodrome in 1911, becoming mainly a cinema
Showed films in 1910.
In 1912 the cinema had 800 seats. The equipment for 'talkies' took up space, meaning there were subsequently 724 seats.
On a Sunday evening, church services were held in the cinema, as cinemas were not allowed to screen films on a Sunday
It had a resident cat, that would jump on to peoples laps. It also had resident fleas!
It continued to run through the 1930s, but closed january 1940. In May 1940 the Chronicle newspaper said 'Palace to be reopened on Friday 23rd August, 1940', but then the paper ran a heading 'Picture palace closes ...has been closed until further notice'.
It closed in August 1940.
In 1942 it suffered severe bomb damage and was later demolished.
There is a photograph in the Bridlington free Press of 8.9.2005 (page 21) showing the palace cinema after it closed down.
Temperence Hall converted in to the Picturedrome in 1912, then the Adelphi Picture Theatre, in 1924 and renamed Roxy in 1935. last film screened in 1962.
Mr Freeman bought the Temperence Hall in 1912 and converted it to the Piccturedrome. Then, in c. 1918 Mr A Lawton bought it and Mr F (or C) Beanland of Pierrots fame, was manager of the Roxy after Mr Freeman died.In 1933 Frederick M Harrop bought it and the Bridlington Free Press tells that in that year it reopened, following extensive decorations (new seats, etc)
The cinema had seating for 400 people.
The Adelphi got renovated in 1930. This included the installation of a talkie machine.
There is an incident recorded in the Bridlington Free Press of 1930, which reads 'Cow in cinema – Much commotion was caused on Quay Road on Monday morning when a cow which was being driven to the cattle market from the direction of the Old Town, ran away. The beast charged down Havelock Crescent, but it was driven back into Quay Road. It then ran into the Adelphi Picture Theatre, and after sniffing about for some time it ran out down the road causing vehicles to pull up sharply while it passed. This animal was eventually got to the market and placed in a pen for sale'
The manager was 'sheriff' Jim Thompson, who ruled with a fist of iron and a cane of wood.
From 1941 to 1945 the Ministry of Defense requisitioned the Roxy, for storage use.
When it reoopened, it boasted 497 seats.
The last film was screened on 30th October, 1961.

Winter Gardens – opened as the Coliseum, in 1922

Renamed the Winter Gardens in 1924. Picture house added to building in 1924.

My mum always said she went to the cinema on a Saturday morning and they sang

We Are The Ovaltineys
We are the Ovaltineys,
Little girls and boys;
Make your requests, we'll not refuse you,
We are here just to amuse you.
Would you like a song or story,
Will you share our joys?
At games and sports we're more than keen;
No merrier children could be seen,
Because we all drink Ovaltine,
We're happy girls and boys!
(the Ovaltineys had a membership of 5 million by 1939)


The cinema closed in February 1982, by the manager, Mr Ray Hines.
Both the last films screened here were x-rated ('Adventures of a Private Eye', and, 'Cherry, Harry and Rachel')
The Winter gardens certainly had 'talkies' by 1932
Mr Mundy was manager of Winter gardens in the 1960s. he was always very smartly dressed.
He got mugged several times on his way home. He carried a briefcase and muggers thought his takings were in there. It probably was to hold his sandwich box.

Field's Oriental Lounge
A picture house was opened within the Oriental Lounge complex, in November 1912 and the first talking films were shown in January 1913.
The 'talkies' were introduced in 1931.
There was seating for 986 people, but when the new wide screen was installed in the 1950s, seating was reduced to 855.
The final film was screened on 28th October 1961. Last film (Double Bunk) starred Ian Carmichael.
The space where the cinema was is now the Forum cinema.
Regal – becoming the ABC Regal in the 1950s
It opened in 1938 and closed on Christmas Eve, 1971.
It was famed for being modern – even boasting air conditioning

The Regal Cinema in Bridlington, is identical to the Regal Cinema in Walton on Thames.
Both were designed by architect C. Edmund Wilford for Lou Morris, and the Regal Cinema, Bridlington opened on July 28, 1938. It was a handsome building equipped with a large cafe area at 1st floor level above a parade of shops, and a stage 43 feet deep behind the proscenium arch of the same width. There were 4 dressing rooms. A ballroom and a Compton 3Manual/6Rank organ were also contained in the building. The Compton organ was played by one of Brid's Pierrots – Reg Long.
The lavish plasterwork screens either side of the stage were designed by the famous company of Mollo & Egan (Alexander Bilimin is credited with the work). A large decorated band ran from rear circle to screen containing the main light source.
The cinema opened on 2nd July, 1938, by the mayor of Bridlington – councillor J.W. Robson.
It boasted an auditorium of 1,500 (although it was actually 1489 seats).
However just a few months after opening, the Regal was sold to the Mayfair circuit. In 1943 the whole of the Mayfair Circuit was taken over by ABC (Associated British Cinemas)
It ran continuous screenings from 2pm to 10.30pm.
It was most well known for its Saturday morning ABC Minors Club. This was very popular, being the forerunner of Saturday morning TV and was the first major Saturday cinema club for children.
The youngsters would queue along the Promenade, with older members acting as monitors wearing black arm bands and keeping the others in order. Inside, these monitors would have blocks of ABC Minors under their supervision during the performance.

The Minors were issued with a badge and membership card that would ensure them of an allocated seat within the cinema.

At the beginning of each Saturday morning session, the "ABC Minors Song" would be played, whilst the lyrics were presented on the screen with a bouncing red ball above the words to help the audience keep the place.

The organ rose up in the orchestra pit and the organist played the ABC Minors Song, to the tune of the march Blaze Away.
The words were shown on screen with an animated bouncing ball above them to help the audience keep their place.

The ABC Minors Song

'We are the boys and girls well known as
'Minors of the ABC
'And every Saturday all line up
'To see the films we like and shout aloud with glee.
'We like to laugh and have a singsong,
'Such a happy crowd are we.
'We're all pals together,
'We're minors of the ABC.'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rzWjw7AO_Xo

Anyone who had a birthday during the previous week was invited on to the stage and the manager gave them a free pass for the next week.
The ABC claimed to be very strict about people being honest and they had 'monitors' – children who 'told' if others were breaking rules – but there are lots of people around who say that if they had had as many birthdays as they said, they would be in the Guinness Book of Records!
The show generally followed the same pattern: a short comedy such as Laurel and Hardy, then cartoons, then a serial that ended with a cliffhanger to encourage the audience to return next week.

In 1969 the ABC was sold to Star Cinemas who operated it as a bingo hall in the stalls and stage areas and a cinema in the circle.
The Regal Cinema closed Christmas Eve 1971 and the auditorium is now exclusively used for bingo as a Gala Bingo Club. A snooker hall operates separately in the cafe/ballroom space.
Contributed by Ian Grundy

Forum.
This opened in July 1992 and is still open.


Spa
By 1909 reports exist of films being shown at the Spa Opera House to 1915 and after break, 1981 and is still open.
.
Date Film title Duration Start time

January 14th, 2014 The Usual Suspects 101 mins 1:30pm
January 21st, 2014 Moonstruck 98 mins 1:30pm
February 4th, 2014 Oklahoma! 149 mins 1:30pm