The Royalty Theatre, City Road.





Chester Odeon Manager- John Ellis (left)


I knew of J W Ellis through my grandmother Ellen Whitehead. He lived with an uncle John Tomlinson at a farm in Ewloe Green, together with his brother Joe Ellis. My grandfather Samuel Parsonage Whitehead was the organist at Ewloe Green Presbyterian Chapel and ran a concert party The Green Bob’s, in the Sunday school building. Whether John and Joe were in this I don’t know, but both brothers were good singers and my grandparents had numerous musical evenings at their bungalow in Wood Lane Hawarden, which included my mother Mary Vera. J W Ellis was in the police force but then got a job as a cinema manager with Gaumont British and was certainly based at one time at the Coleseum Burslem, Staffs.

My grandmother’s brothers were all involved in the coal minding and clayware industry and often went to Staffs to stay for a holiday with uncle John Heaton and his wife and children. When there they would go to the Coleseum to see films, and as the cinema had a Compton organ John Ellis would let my grandfather play it.

John Ellis eventually returned to Chester to manage the Odeon (Gaumont British Cinemas having been taken over by Odeon) and I think his wife’s name was Noreen, and they lived in the vicinity of Walpole/ Chichester Street, I think. My grandparents when they visited Chester would often call in at the Odeon to see John Ellis. I do remember he died quite young and my grandparents and parents went to his funeral. Many of the wreaths were displayed in the florists shop over the road in Hunter Street Alderley Hall.

Roger Shone(c)chestercinemas.co.uk


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