All the cinemas are gone! Where my friends and I went on a Saturday afternoon for the matinees, they’ve disappeared. They have either been knocked down or redeveloped, writes community reporter Martyn White.
Often, on Saturday afternoons my friends and I would go to a matinee at one of the local cinemas. We had quite a choice of places to go, within a reasonable walking distance. Where we lived, in the prefabs on Jack Lane, there were several cinemas just a few minutes away.
The Palace on Meadow Lane was a favourite, as was the Queens Theatre. The Queens opened in 1898, as a theatre. Quite an imposing place, but the stonework was covered in industrial grime.
The Queens was a favourite when the weather was poor, as we didn’t have far to go. Less than five minutes walk away.
There was the Malvern Cinema – up Beeston Hill, it was closed down and rebuilt as a public house. The pub has since been closed down and boarded up.
Both are still there in other guises. The Crescent is a fitness centre, near the fire station and the Pavillion is opposite Tunstall Road it reopened as a video store, but is now an estate agent. The Rex Cinema was off Dewsbury Road, on the other side to Tommy Wass’s.
There were a couple of cinemas on Domestic Street, one by St. Matthews Church. We had to go across Holbeck Moor to get to them. That was before the M621, when the Moor was a bit bigger.
As children, going to the matinees, we could get in for sixpence (2.5 new pence). If we had a shilling (5 new pence) we could either have an ice cream or sweets. Sometimes my parents would take me to the cinema in the evening. But not often.
Television, videos and more recently DVDs have been the death of cinemas. Why pay the earth to go to the cinema when you can watch a film in the comfort of your own home?