On this page we invite you to recall your personal memories of local cinemas.
If you worked in the industry or just enjoyed going to cinema, then we and many others are interested to hear about it. Whether in the Chester area or any other district in the UK and overseas.
Simply send your story in (long or short) on our contact page of the website together with your email address or telephone number. This will then be added onto this page as a permanent feature on our website.
Peter Stevens writes ~
I’m putting together a page for my family archive. My grandfather was Arthur Stevens [originally from Cardiff] who moved to Chester in 1941 because Cardiff was being heavily bombed. He is pictured outside what my Dad referred to as the ‘Music Hall’ in Chester. The film is 1957 on the IMDB. Can you confirm the date the photograph was taken please?
David A Ellis confirms the date ~
The film was screened at the Music Hall from Monday 21st July 1958. The main feature was Happy is the Bride. ~ David A Ellis.
Peter ~ I bet they were going for the main feature ‘Happy Is The Bride’. My Dad married my American mother in Florida not long after, but my grandparents couldn’t afford to go.
Shirley Ellis recalls ~
Shirley Ellis, who worked there at this time recalls “I remember being given the PINK PANTHER costume to wear and going across to the Top Rank bingo hall to draw the first number, then returning, and being chained outside the Odeon to promote the latest PINK PANTHER film, supervised by manager, Tony Brooks.
It was wonderful working there. It was pure fun, wasn’t like work at all”.
I remember being a minor of the ABC cinema in Foregate Street, although, my badge is but a memory, writes Cindy Bunch, who now lives in Victoria BC, Canada. “In the mid-1960s, my Mum’s late sister Valerie Cook worked as an usherette at the Odeon. She was very small 4’ 9” which caused a problem when she carried the ice cream tray as it banged against her knees. My Dad fixed the strap on the tray with additional holes to higher the tray.
My Mum’s name was Mignon (Min) Singleton. She came from Salisbury Street, just off Cheyney Road. I remember that she and my Auntie Win (Winnie Green) worked together at the Gingham Kitchen which had been built into the front of the ABC’s grand entrance hall. My Dad, Roy and Auntie Win’s husband Frank told the ladies that “No wife’s of theirs should work. So the following day they went to the manager and jacked in their jobs right there and then. When they returned home, my Dad asked what the heck did she think she was playing at, we need the money! So the next day, Mum and Auntie Win went back to the Gingham Kitchen. As bold as brass, telling the manager “We’ve reconsidered our position. As such we’ll stay on as is” Yup, they got their jobs back.
My Mum served a Gingham Kitchen meal to the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary when they appeared at the ABC before a performance there. A snippet of family and Chester cinema history”.
Jayne Hughes who lived in Bouverie Street recalls ~ I remember going with my mum. Hard seats but fascinating building. My mum’s cousin Beryl Rainford used to be an usherette there…amazing uniform, maroon suit and pillbox type hat and bright bright red lipstick,!
When I was young (16), I started work as an apprentice at Blaggs next to the Gaumont cinema in 1956. The building was owned by the cinema and had no toilet so we had to use the toilets in the cinema. In those days the Gaumont had a really good dining room upstairs which was open every day, I remember having some good lunches there.
The projection room had two Gaumont Kaylee projectors. Some very good stage shows were put on, I remember seeing Charlie Chester in “Zip goes a Million ” and seeing Lonnie Donigan. In it’s hey day it was a brilliant theatre.
When it was converted into a bowling alley I was appalled to witness the organ console dragged into the foyer and badly damaged, I’m not sure if it was rescued or just dumped but seeing how damaged it was I would be surprised if it would ever be used again. The building was converted by building another structure inside the old. The main ceiling and stage were kept but I expect all this has long since gone.
Can you add to this page?