See also Cinema Index See also, Openshaw Cinemas

Corona Cinema in West Gorton.

A friend told me to take a look at ‘Manmates’; the first picture I opened was of the Corona Cinema in West Gorton. I worked above the cinema in about the year 1947 as a poster writer. I was employed by J. Arthur Rank and we did the posters for the local Gaumont Cinemas. The two people who were in charge were called Mr.and Mrs. Tulip. The hours worked were 8.30am to 6.00pm for a five day week, my most vivid memory of those days was listening for the films to start at 5.50pm when we would wash our brushes and be ready to make the dash for home at 6.00pm.
We were taken over, I think in about 1948, by Gordon’s Publicity of Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester. I stayed with them until 1961 or thereabouts and we produced posters for all the Odeon and Gaumont Cinemas in England. In the early days it was a 48 hour week with one weeks holiday a year and we had to work on New Years Day, I think the workforce was around 60 of us. I worked at many places in Manchester doing cinema posters including Lloyds Packing warehouse in Castle Street, Art Display Service at Ardwick and Walkers Showcards In Faraday Street. I worked for a time at Pauldens, just after the fire, doing showcards for their new Premises in Market Street.
From 1966 to 1991 I opened a shop in Sale producing posters by hand and Silk Screen Printing. I often wonder how many old Poster Writers are still going.

Eric Jones 03/05/06

Extract from the Guestbook
Many thanks Eric

Theatre Royal on Princes Street

I wonder if any of your readers every remember the Theatre Royal on Princes Street, beside the Free Trade Hall. I worked there as a Secretary to the Proprietor, and of course enjoyed the viewings when I could. It was magical.

I also remember in my younger days, my father used to take me to the local cinema in Brookes Bar, I forget the name of it. I think it is a warehouse now. One evening there was a movie on that both my father and I wanted to see - it was a 'beastly' one - monsters and such things. We left our house in Heywood/Harpenden Street, went up to Raby Street, Moss Side and walked down to the Cinema. At one stage I happened to look back and there was my own cat following us along. We crossed the road, all three of us, and my father and I went into the Cinema, saw the film, came out and there was my cat waiting for us. He promptly followed us home. While there was not as much traffic as there is now, I don't know how he escaped. On further journeys to the cinema the cat was shut into the house.

I have always loved going to the cinema, but for years there has not been one near where we live in Ireland, but there is one recently opened and my husband and I intend to become more regular movie goers from now on. The only trouble is that with Satellite television, and DVD's coming out so soon after their release, it takes the pleasure of the visits to the cinema for me.

Oh bye the way I have printed off a couple of pages of people with Chorlton-cum-Hardy (where I used to live) connections, and one in particular that is looking for relations in Tipperary. I might be able to help them.

You can include my email address if you intend to publish this.

Keep up the good work Alan and God Bless you for this wonderful site. Patricia O'Driscoll 27/08/05

Many thanks Patricia

Manchester Cinema Memories

I am thrilled to find your wonderful website. My memories of Manchester cinemas (or picture houses as we called them) go back to the early days of the second world war when I lived with my grandparents in Moss Side. My gran used to take me to the Capitol (or was it the Capital) on Princess Road every Tuesday and I went there on Saturday afternoons for the childrens’ matinee(cost twopence) We also went to the Claremont, The Rusholme (which she called The Rusholme Rep) and the La Scala on Oxford Road (not to be confused with the Scala on Wilmslow Road in Withington)

My mother had been the pianist in many silent cinemas in Manchester (see a photo of Walter's Mother.?)during the twenties, starting at the age of 14!! I cannot recall where she worked other than the cinema at the foot of the approach to the Oxford Road Station near the Palace Theatre. The cinema became a “News Theatre” called The Tatler. More please

Walter Houser 31/07/05

Many thanks Walter

Cinema Ballrooms

Another memory occurs to me that nobody seems to have touched upon which is that a lot of the cinemas also had small ballrooms that had weekly or twice weekly (or more) dancing. I know because I worked in a number of them as a saxophone player in the band. In particular I worked at the Apollo on Ardwick Green, the Odeon in Prestwich and the Casino in Rusholme. This was between 1954 and 1956. After that I graduated to the various Palais de Danse before leaving Manchester for London in 1959 Do you have any mention of these ballrooms anywhere?

Walter 01/08/05 See Walter's Jazz Memories...??

This is new one on me Walter. I have certainly not heard this one before and I am fairly sure no one has mentioned it on this site before either.

Many thanks Walter


AL, reading David Abbotts article on the Classic cinema on Barlow moor Road in Chorlton Cum Hardy, I can only assume, going on his comments, it later became the Essoldo. My mates and I started going there around 1961/62 and one of the first films I saw there was Ben Hur, not long after it was Dr No and all the other James Bond epics, later came Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and also the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. During that time one of the attendants was a chap called Fred, who used to chuck any trouble causer out, and watch out for anyone sneaking in through the side emergency exits, that were sometimes opened by their pals already sat down watching a film. I seem to recall an usherette named Betty. I think of course, her job was showing patrons to their seats and selling ice cream and popcorn etc at the interval. The cinema had a very large front to it with three or four steps leading up to the doors and part of the front was a driving school called Goodfellows. That was where I took my driving lessons from, and for a Guinea an hour, I had the privilege of driving a Triumph Herald, a brand new one at that, D registered (1966). The last time I went there was around 1971 but it still holds many fond memories for me sitting on the back row especially. Of course it wasn't the only cinema in Chorlton because there was the Odeon about a mile further up towards Old Trafford on Manchester Rd next to a snooker hall. Sadly these days the picture house is now a funeral parlour and the snooker hall a wine bar, how times have changed.

Regards, Ted 07/03/05 (Extract form an email by Ted Knott)

Many thanks Ted

Globe Cinema

In my younger days I worked at the Globe cinema in Old Trafford, I started in the 40s as a trainee , the chiefs name was Stan Bridgeford and the 2nd was Johnny Worrall .
The first 10 rows had long benches (no arms) on each side, quite a few people went home with fleas after seeing a show. They had two Kalee 8s in the box (hand fed),
The first job chief had me doing was learning how to splice the film, he gave me a short lesson and then had me splice about 10 pcs and then when I finished them he had me take them to him in the box and then he would just pull the joints apart, after about 4 days I was able to splice them and he could not pull them apart. At nine pm I had to go home because I was not allowed to work after that time, so next morning when I came in I had to re-wind the last two reels from the night before. Every time before you threaded a spool you had to hold it up and show the guy on the other machine what you were threading, If part 1-2 was on the other machine then you had to be threading part 3-4 and so on. That way there were supposed to be no mistakes .
Well one night after I left to go home they were showing the main feature and the 2nd threaded lets say part 7-8 and they did not check with each other and guess what ? when they changed over the start of the Three Stooges came on. Of course they said it was my fault.

From there (The Globe) I went to the Shaftsbury in Longsight and quite a few times when they were short handed at the Palace in Levenshulme and the Rusholme Theatre I would have to go there for a couple if nights. When I was promoted to 2nd I went to the Grovsner in All Saints, nota very good place to work, all the places were run by H.D.M.

From the Grovsner I was conscripted into the army and after getting out I went back to H.D.M and went to work at the Picture Theatre in Altrincham and after a few yrs my mother got fed up with me getting up at 9-0am and 11-0am so I decided that it was time for a new career be cause I did not have any friends and on my day off I would go to the pictures, even on Christmas day when all the picture houses were closed the Gaiety in Manchester was open so I would go there. The main picture was not the same as the one they were showing during the week ( For some reason they were not allowed to do that) it was some old one..

I used to go to the Forum in Northenden also the Coronation, the guy that owned the Coronation also owned the Farmers Arms right next door plus he was a coalman (busy man)

I hope I have not bored you too much.
Take Care and Best Wishes.. Jim. Bryden..Seattle..
06/03/05 (extract from email)

Many thanks Jim, a great story.

The Classic

Another cinema in Chorlton Cum Hardy was the Classic on Barlow Moore Road. I think it closed about 1982. I remember going to the sweet shop next door because the sweets were much cheaper than the cinema's sweet shop. When the cinema closed they built a Halfords cycle shop. That closed in the 90's replaced by a KFC and Blockbuster Video rental shop. When did the Classic open? Did they show the same films as the other cinemas in the area? A voice over on the adverts use to tell you who supplied the music for the Classic cinema. This was Qwarmbys(stationars, records and toys) on Wilbraham Road. Have you any pictures of the classic? (No, sorry David. But maybe a member or guest may be able to find us one?)
The Odeon Cinema on Oxford Road Manchester use to have a cinema organ that came out of the stage and provided the music. The organ was still in use up until about 1974. This was a Wurlizser Organ. The organ went to it's new home in the Free Trade Hall after leaving the cinema. Then, the Bridwater Hall, Manchester. Did all cinemas have organs or bands playing? The Wo Sang Chinese Resturant use to advertise at the cinema saying, "They were above this emporium." I wondered how to get to them from the cinema? They were at the side of cinema, not on top.
The Gaumont Cinema on Oxford Road Manchester, used to show pantomimes, or was it the Odeon? I remember our dad taking us to see Jack and the Bean Stalk about 1973 or 4 staring Beryl Reid.

Following on from your correspondence about prefabs on Hough End Fields Chorlton. How long did it take them to build the houses? How did they decide to build them there? Did they have to get permission from Lord Edgerton, the land owner? Were they German prisonars of war who built the houses? Which prison camp did they come from.

Yours David Abbot.

Many Thanks David. Perhaps our regular visitors can answer your questions?

The New Royal Cinema, Ashton New Road, Bradford.

It was between Rhodes Street and Parker Street, facing North to what is now the new Manchester City Football ground which occupies the all North side of Ashton New Road (including Bradford Colliery) from what was Mill Street (Now Alan Turrin Way) to Darley Street

See Old Bradford Map...?? Old Map Bradford, Manchester

Magnet Cinema on Church Street, Newton Heath.

Photo of curtain that Kaye mentions below

My earliest cinema memories are from the 1940s, during WW2, when my older sisters took me to the Magnet Cinema on Church Street, Newton Heath. They preferred the Magnet to the Pavilion just next door, I think because it was newer.
Opposite the Pavilion, every Friday and Saturday sat a man with a club foot who played the accordian. He was one of Newton Heath's characters and always had a smile for everyone who passed by, whether the threw coins into his cap or not.
But does anyone remember the curtain at the Magnet? It had a full size scene on it of what I now think was Venice. It was of a man in a gondola.
Here in Western Australia, in the Goldfields city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, there is a priceless Goatcher Curtain, depicting the Bay of Naples, painted by Philip Goatcher for the opening of the Boulder Town Hall in 1908. It is lowered for viewing, on its original pulleys, on Wednesdays and Market Days. Goatcher is reputed to have painted theatre curtains for London, New York and Paris.
Thinking about the curtain at the little Magnet cinema, I wonder if there is a history about it and, if indeed, it may have been one of Goatcher's lesser-known works. Does anyone know what happened to the curtain when the Magnet was sold to become a supermarket?

Many thanks to Kaye Hawley, Perth, Western Australia for the above story and picture. 18/04/2004

Magnet Cinema (extract from email)

I used to be a trainee projectionist at the Magnet Cinema, just about the time she mentions. I remember the curtain well; however it was there when I left to become a second projectionist at the Ambassador Cinema in Pendleton. I remember having to turn the handle backstage to open and closethe curtain before and after each performance. Whatever became of it I do not know, but the Cinema chain belonged to the SNAPE & WARD cinema cirquit. They also owned the Carlton cinema Clayton, Ambassador Pendleton,Fourways Moston and the Avenue Blackley.

The old man that she mentions ,who played the accordion outside the Pavilion I also recollect. At first I thought that she may have been confusing the man with Joe, the boilerman/fireman from the Magnet, ( who was also severely crippled. His wife worked in the kiosk, her name was Mary ) The manager at the time was a Mr.McDermott who lived on St.Mary's road. Chief projectionist was Stan Waite and the other fireman was
a chap called Ted. Joynt. I also remember the first film that I showed during my first week there. It was : State Secret starring Jack Hawkins. If I can think of anything else I will contact you again. Thirteen years ago I took very ill. I was given two years to live. I underwent major heart surgery. ( Aeortic valve replacement and treble
bypass ) and I'm still here. After the operation I suffered severe memory loss ; however it is slowly coming back. At present, I am about three quarters the way through writing a second book, on the early part of my life, right up to joining the Army. Soon for publication hopefully.My first book is entitled 'Fly fishing Loch Shin', but is only avalable in this area of Scotland. If you have any questions, then don't hesitate to drop me a line.

Sincerely. R.Howarth. 06/04/05

Many thanks Roy

Two Photos of The Cosmo Cinema Building as it is today.

It is no longer a cinema of course, and hasn't been for some time. At present it is an auction house and before that is was a bingo. I can't remember when it closed as a cinema but it certainly hasn't been in the last 25 years that I know of. Do you know? If you do let us all know by emailing us at the address below. See Also, Memory lane Stories

See Ted's cinema memories below.

The Cosmo Cinema Building, Gorton, Manchester

Wellington Street Gorton, Manchester

Wellington Street Gorton. On the left with blue and yellow door is the old bank building now a Citizens Avice Burough. The old Comso Cinema is on the right and just behind that on the corner with Hyde Road is the Plough Pub. See the old Empress Cinema?

Memories of The Cinema Days From Teddy Knott

The Scala Picture House (as it is today) that Ted Mentions below from his childhood. Also, see it as it was during the war Scala 1940

 See Photo of the demolition...? This Link Sent in By Terry McDonagh on 19/01/09

As a child in the fifties I used to go to the local cinema called THE REGENT PICTURE HOUSE, it was on Princess Rd in Fallowfield, later it was renamed THE CRESTA, sadly it was demolished around 1961 and replaced with a petrol station. Has any one got any photos or memorbillia on this cinema? In those days I can recall queuing up at the side of the place for the regular Saturday afternoon matinees,they used the side exit door as opposed to the main enterance those days, there was always a bit of SNEAKING IN as well. In Withington village we had which is now closed the building is still there, in Moss side we had THE WYCLIFFE,in Hulme there were THE POPULAR, THE RADNOR, THE CRESCENT and THE LUXOR which later turned into a nightclub. In Chorlton we had THE ESSOLDO on Barlow Moor Rd and THE ODEON next to THE BILLIARD HALL on Manchester Rd, over in Northerden we had THE FORUM and THE CORONATION, sadly TV and later the video age arrived and they all disappeared, happy days indeed, but has anyone got any memorbillia to put on the site?

Like Ted has said above, "it would be great get some photos of the old cinemas to put on this site."

Many thanks again, Ted..!! 25/11/2003

Ted Continues

Al, regarding my comments on the Regent & Cresta cinemas on Princess road I wonder if anyone else can remember an usherette named Esta, she worked at the renamed Cinema for quite a while during the fifties up to it closing in 1961/2.Esta lived off Mauldeth road west near the shops and was also an officer in the Salvation army she also was a regular church goer at Bethshan Tabernacle on Crowcroft road in Longsight and was a friend of our family in Eddisbury avenue I'm not sure if she lived in Limehurst ave or Burslem ave so I wonder if anyone remembers her or where she actually lived. >regards >ted. 20/04/05

Ted Continues


This was the first film I saw at The Scala Cinema In Withington, around 1956, although it was made in 53. It must have been very popular being still shown two or three years on as the main feature, it is still one of my all time favourite films, along with Alfred Hitchcocks Rear Window. This was made in 1954. Thank You, Ted. 06/05/05 To see information about the film Genevieve, cut and paste the following into your web browser:

Many thanks Ted



Ted Knott

FAO John Morgan, John it was a wonderful story about your old childhood days, however when you recalled your trips to Marple from Ashbury's it triggered one particular one for me. We as kids around the mid to late fifties used to catch a train almost every Sunday from Withington and West Didsbury railway station which was on the Midland line it ran out of Central station and stopped at Chorlton, Withington/west Didsbury, Didsbury,Heaton Mersey, Tiviot Dale, Bredbury, Romiley, and finally Marple. As you stated it seemed ages reaching our destination and I always remember hanging our heads out of the window and getting HOOKED on the smell from the old steam engine, they were called Tank engines, sometimes they pulled us backwards, for the rail enthusiast the jubilee and Britannia class ran down that line en route to St Pancras in London via Notts and Leicester areas names like Evening and Morning Star, Britannia,Sir Nigel Gresley etc come to mind, later the diesel age arrived and whilst the Piccadilly line was being modified all the London bound trains ran out of Central station one particular one who's name I cannot recall was all blue, the name was a nickname and can anyone remember it? I think about four a day ran to St Pancras, eventually Beeching closed the line and to this day the old cuttings are still there but overgrown with trees and bushes YES I remember the train it was THE LONDON PULLMAN, has anyone any photos?



Ted Knott

I was very interested in John Morgans comments on the cinema scene it brought further memories back to me. Remember the M/C news theatre on oxford street, the Tatler on Oxford road approach, further down there was The Regal twins and at all saints there was The Grovesnor. Does anyone remember The Plaza on Oxford road it was on the left just before The MRI. John? That cinema on Ashton New road, was it The Don or could it had been The Alambra, I'm not sure? Oh and The Trocerdero brought back memories, Quick Save is on the site now, what about The Rusholme picture house? it had an entrance both on Wimslow road and Gt Western street. Moving across to Stockport road in Longsight you had The Queens, The Shaftsbury, and The Kings all located between Kirkmanshulme Lane and Dickinson road. In levenshulme there was The Palace in Farm Yard Place opposite Cromwell Grove, it has kept his name to this day as a night club, further down towards Mcvities biscuit factory there was another which later turned into a bingo hall, does anyone remember the name of it? Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I just wish I would have taken a photo of all these old cinemas or even kept items such as programmes and tickets etc, I do however have one from 1970 from The Scala picture house in Withington village, surely someone has some memorabilia on such wonderful places of enjoyment, if so put it on the site it would be greatly appreciated.

Ted Says "Please add my thanks to Norman Pemberton as well for his great memories."

Thanks again Ted, you are a real mate to Manmates.


Following on from what Ted says above, the MEN reports below

Does anyone remember the ABC Cinema Song?

"We are the girls and boys well known as the miners of the ABC..... And every Saturday we line up, to sing the songs we love and shout aloud with glee ! We love to laugh and have a sing song. Just a happy crowd are we.... We're all pals together.... we're are the minors of the ABC.

Do you know any Manchester children's songs? Let us know and we can have a song page

Changing Guard At The Palace.

Manchester Evening News Reports, 27/12/2003


The years may have rolled on but the Levenshulme Palace still offers a right royal night out.

Originally called The Palace Cinema, it has been the Palace Nightclub for the past decade, and remains very much at the heart of the local community where it is a key venue for live bands, comedy, sport and all things Irish.

In its early days when the "flicks" reigned supreme, it was one of no fewer than five cinemas in the area. Known affectionately as either the Farmside, because of its location in Farmside Close, or the Bug Hut, it was a regular haunt every week for hundreds of cinema lovers.


The Palace as it is today





In the 20s, Rudolph Valentino was the romantic star of the age, in the 50s Teddy Boys in their drainpipe strousers and string ties held sway - often gathering at nearby

Sivori's ice cream parlour before shows. Both The Palace and another local cinema The Arcadia, were built alonside the main railway embankment and long before Bill Haley and his Comets had picture houses shaking, passing trains made both venudes shake, rattle and roll.

The Palace closed to filmgoers in 1984, the venue still enjoys a role at the centre of the community.


Bomb Damage at the Scala Cinema 1940

Repairs being undertaken to the cinema and the road in front, after a hit by a small bomb on 1st October, 1940, the same night on which nine people were killed in a shelter in Withington. The Scala survived both the war and the decline in cinema audiences during the 1960's. It opened just before World War 1 at a time when Manchester was experiencing a boom in 'picture palaces'. By the mid 1930's, there were 109 in Manchester. Many people visited the cinema three or four times a week, and teachers complained that their pupils were neglecting their homework and were too tired to conncentrate in class because of excessive cinema-going. By 1965 however, the boom was over, only 40 cinemas remaining. Before the 'talkies' caught on, many cinemas had resident pianists or organists who would play music they considered appropriate to the action taking place on the screen. The Scala's woman pianist was considered particularly good.

The films advertised here were Joan Bennett in ' The Housekeeper's Daughter' (Monday to Wednesday), and Ginger Rogers in ' Fifth Avenue Girl' (Thursday to Saturday), and a 'matinee today at 2.0' is promised. But this was just war time bravado. Manchester Evening News files shows that advertising ceased and did not recommence until Tuesday 22nd October when, presumably, repairs had been completed

See Withington and Didsbury Train Station?

my name is Terry Mc Donagh, I am originally from Withington
and went to St. Cuthberts School, but now living in Ohio. USA.
I found this photo of the Scala Cinema taken back in 1940 and I
thought you may want to add it to your Cinema section,

Many thanks Terry, this is just what we are looking for, also the photo of the Train Station Alan, the webmaster

I left the area (and home) in 1951, to take up apprenticeship in carpentry.

later moved to Birkenhead, then SE Wales, Pontypool.

I recall cinemas..Savoy, Ardwick Cinema (bughut, bottom of Clowes Street just off Hyde road, another in Birch Street, agian just off Hyde road near the speedway at Belle Vue, forgot the name, another in Gorton road opposite Bayer Peacock , now that's a name in history of railways!!! I first came to classical music in that dirty old place, they played Dance of the Hours and other stuff before the film started and in between shows. Further down was The Hippodrome, and opposite that was one that got a bomb that flattened it, behind that in Stockport road another one, Still there I think, but probably a bingo hall or furniture outlet or something other than a movie house.
As time goes by one sometimes recalls the places of youth, I remeber one on Ashton New road where a girl friend shone the torch as an usherette. We used to canoodle in the dark when the film was running. Oh! happy day's.

John Morgan

Many thanks again, John


Norman Pemberton's Memories And Working Experiences Of The Cinema

Hi. My name is Norman Pemberton and have only just found your site after I put out a search for old friends in the "in touch"page in the M.E.N. Your contributor. Teddy Knott,stirred up my memories of old long gone cinema's in Manchester. I to grew up in the 40's and 50's with a love of the cinema.I was born in Rusholme and my first introduction to the cinema was saturday afternoon kids shows at the Rusholme Theatre,Wilmslow Road corner of Great Western Street,it was formerly the Rusholme Rep. Theatre ( where Robert Donat began his distinguished career ),but before that it was the garage and terminus for the horse drawn busses of the Manchester Carriage Company. Those long lost saturday afternoon's were magic, you laughed out loud at the comedies and cartoons, bood and hissed at the baddies,cheered the goodies,and on the way home you play acted the cowboy film.

The other cinema's around the area were, the Rivoli,on Denmark Road,where we knew we could get in to see an "X" film with no problem.The Claremont ( A.B.C.), on Claremont Road, corner of Upper Lloyd Street, it cost a few more pennies,but it was a slightly more upmarket cinema. Then there was the Trocadero on Wilmslow road ,this had a long foyer leading to the cinema, which was all on one level that seemed to stretch forever. They also had a second paybox in the side street, this was the entrance to the cheap seats right at the front,but once inside you could sit anywhere in the dark. A couple of hundred yards further up Wilmslow Rd. opposite Dickinson Road was the Casino ( A.B.C.) , this was the posh cinema, it had marble steps up to the entrance which led on to a marble foyer, then on to marble stairs to the large circle,on special occasions,to see a "big picture" we were allowed up in the circle, we felt like lords. Alas all these cinema's have long gone, the Casino suffered a fire when closed in the early 60s,the Trocadero was knocked down for redevelopment of the area, as was the Claremont. The only building still standing is the Rivoli which is part of the Manchester University School of Music.The Rusholme Theatre was also demolished in the 70's and a filling station stands on the site. When I left school in 1957 with the cinema pumping through my veins. I began a 30 year "love affair"with all aspects of the cinema industry, and if anybody is interested I will continue in future letters....Norman Pemberton now of Horsham, West Sussex.

Many thanks again, Norman I am sure we are all interested? I know I am, the webmaster..!!


Norman continues below

Hi Norman again with "reel 2". I lived in Parkfield Street, off Great Western Street, just a few hundred yards from the RusholmeTheatre. 3 doors away from me lived the chief projectionist of the Rusholme Bob Cartlidge, and it was he who changed my life when he introduced me to the magic of the projection room. I was 15 and still at school and every opportunity I would be found peering out of the projection portholes though the smokey beam to the picture being projected onto the screen.He taught me the basic workings of the projectors and sound system, which was a very old system consisting of a pair of kalee 8's with vulcan arc lamps and mirrophonic sound. the screen had fixed masking, so it could not be extended for Cinemascope films, so the Rusholme showed "cinemascope". He taught me to make up the reels ready for showing, splicing the adverts and trailers together, so at the age of 15 I was running the show a couple of times a week while Bob and his 2nd projectionist went for a couple of pints at the Whitworth pub on Moss Lane. At 16 when it came time for me to leave Openshawe Tech, my parents in
their wisdom decided that I should take a "nice job"in an office in Manchester. But the week I was due to start, I looked in theM.E.N.and saw in the situations page that the Gaumont Theatre on Oxford Street were seeking a trainee projectionist, so at 5pm that same night I went to the theatre and asked to see the manager, so keen was I for the job I didn't realise that one didn't turn up for an interview at 5.00pm in the evening. Anyway, he must have seen how keen I was and he told me to see him at 10 am the following morning. 9.55am the next day saw me being ushered to the "inner sanctum"of the General Manager of the Gaumont, Mr George Baker.Anyway after a good interview with him explaining all about the job and the Gaumont being the premier Cinema in Manchester, he asked me what I knew about the job, so I told him of my' vast experience' of the Rusholme,to which he gave me a very funny smile, offered me the job and to start the following monday at the princely sum of £5-5-0.(£5.25) for a 48 hour week. The next obsticle was to tell my parents, who were horrified, but my father finally agreed that I could take the job, but said that I would soon come to my senses......In reel 3, you will find out why Mr Baker gave me that smile, because I was soon to find out the real world of the trainee projectionist.....To the next time......Norman

Thanks Norman, I can't wait. I am sure everyone else will be the same? The webmaster.


Norman continues below

The great day dawned. August 10th 1957, I was to start work at the Gaumont Theatre Oxford Street as a trainee projectionist. I arrived at 10.15 and entered the grand foyer, I stood in the centre and gazed round in awe, the foyer was a magnificent sight, you entered through glass doors from the outer foyer which contained the paybox, and as you entered your feet sank into the thick carpet.The ceiling must have been 30feet high with beautiful gold ornate relief sculptering the same as the pillers and walls. Hanging from the ceiling were two enormous chanderliers each containing at least 30 lamps in cut glass shades. At the far end of the foyer, next to the confection kiosk, stood a grand curved staircase which led to the Loges ( front circle ) and the main circle, also to the Mirror hall gallery leading to the restaurant. On entering the circle you were met by the vastness of the auditorium, the walls and ceiling were decorated in the same ornate relief as the foyer, ( the interior design of the Theatre was the work of a famous architect Theodore Komisarjevsky,who was responsable for many Gaumont, Odeon & Granada Theatres( the Gaumont was origionally being built as a Granada theatre after the part demolision of the old Manchester Hippodrome which originally occupied the site, but a few weeks before completion it was sold to Gaumont Cinemas ). Sorry about the divertion. I was brought back to reality by a voice asking if I was the new "boy". I was led through a maze of passageways untill at last I was allowed into the Projection Suite, the Suite was reached via stairways at both ends of the rear circle exits. I was led up the left side doors and climbed another short set of stairs, at the top was situated the Chief Projectionists office,then a large rest room with cooking facilities,lockers and tables and chairs, further along the passage way the next room contained 100 accumulator batteries used for the emegency lighting, the next room was the film rewinding room, this then led to the Projection Room. On
finally entering I was overcome by the size of it, it must have been 100 feet long by about 20 feet wide, the equipment from the rewind room end consisted of a non sync console for the playing of records, a Stelma spotlight, a slide lantern, then the two large Kalee 21s with Lightmaster arc lamps, a double ranked Brenograph, this was a special effects machine used for illuminating the curtains during intervals and stage presentations. Then followed another spotlight, finally on the end wall was the lighting dimmer controlls. On exiting the Suite the next room contained all the resistances for the lighting control board, the final room before decending the staircase back to the Theatre was the Rectifier Room, this contained 2 huge mercury bulb rectifiers used to convert the A/C input into D/C output to power the projectors and arc lamps. I hope these memories are not boring the readers, but they are as fresh today as they were 46 years ago. In reel 4 I will tell you how I was brought down to earth with a massive bump, and spent the next 3 months cleaning and polishing everything that did not move.......Happy Christmas to all .....Norman....

Keep it up Norman, I am certainly not bored, I am enjoying it, as I'm sure we all are, Alan, the webmaster


Norman's Memories Continues Below....After Nearly Four Years.

Hello again Norman here ,sorry about the long wait,the projector broke down and it took ages to fix.Anyway we were up to where I had just started as a trainee projectionist at the Gaumomt cinema Manchester,and on my first day I was in for a big shock.I was introduced to the chief projectionist,his name was Tommy Wynne, then 2 second projectionists,John Hyde and the other whose name I cannot recall,David Leeves was the 3rd,there was a 4th again his name escapes me,and finally at the bottom of the pile , me.My working day started at 10.30 am and consisted of cleaning and polishing the Kalee 21s projectors,vaccuming and cleaning the carbon dust out of the arc lamps.Then because I was the trainee it was my job to sweep and polish the floor, then buff it up till it shone,Whilst I was doing all this the rest of the staff snuck off to Lyons corner coffee shop.It would be a few weeks before I was allowed to go with them to buy the drinks of course. We had an hour and a half for dinner before the start of the films. 20 minutes before the start the Manager stood at the front of the stalls to do a house check , all exit doors to be unlocked, and exits and toilets checked for defected lighting,which had to be put right before opening. I had an hour for tea about 4 oclock ,and half an hour supper about 8,30.The show finished,at 10 30 but by the time the cinema was checked that all cigs were extinguished,toilets and exits checked and all main lighting switched off,leaving just enough for the nightwatchman to do his rounds,we could finally go home. So by the time I caught the number 42 bus home it was gone 11 oclock and I was shattered. I worked 48 hours a week for the princley sun of £ 3. 10.6 ,I was not allowed to work on Sundays It would be a few weeks before I was allowed to allowed to touch a reel of film, all I was doing was cleaning.fetching and carrying and making tea every hour. One of the worst jobs that I hated doing was every week brassoing the copper fire and sand buckets, also the pyreen fire extiguishers,but the were banned soon after as a projectionist somewhere was badly gassed when using one, because they were filled witjh carbon tet. One day about 4 weeks after I started I was summoned to the chief projectionists office for an appraisal , and was told I had passed my "initiation" with flying colours and the following Monday morning I was to begin my technical training, to be actually allowed to handle film.thread projectors ,splice film and do the changeover between projectors,( all of which I had been doing for months at the Rusholme cinema ).So this experience stood me in good stead and my progress was swift.........Next reel I will tell you of the Rank training schools at the Odeon Manchester, and the Gaumont Camdem Town, and of the having the honor of being one of the first projectionists to handle 70 mm ,when the Gaumont was the second cinema in the country, the other being the Dominion Tottenham Court Road, to be equipped for the Todd A.O.process,when in April 1958 the two and a half year run of South Pacific began.........

Is There More, If So, Please Continue Norman, We Have All Missed At. 08/08/07

The John Morgan's Manchester childhood stories have been move to the Memory lane page

Read John's adult Exploits, From South Wales to Al Jiddah


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