Memories of Mansfield Cinemas

Civic Theatre, Leeming Street | Mansfield Museum
Civic Theatre, Leeming Street
Mansfield Museum
The Granada - September 1963 | Mansfield Museum
The Granada - September 1963
Mansfield Museum

The PALACE—-

Leeming Street, at times apart from being a cinema also had periods of presenting variety shows.

Became later The Civic Hall /Civic Theatre .still in existence like so many Cinemas had a Children’s Saturday Matinee (commonly known as the ” Tuppenny Rush” Usually showed films and/or Variety Shows for a weeks duration

 

The EMPIRE—-

Corner of Rosemary Street and Stockwell Gate was I believe a part of the Gaumont film group was closed and demolished when The Four Seasons and Inner Ring Road were created.

It had a disadvantage of having supports for the circle in the main auditorium which was problematic if there was a full House and you were unfortunate to have seats behind the same

 

The ROCK—-

Skerry Hill also part of the Gaumont Group (eventually part of The Rank Group)

showing different programmes twice weekly

—— Monday to Wednesday and Thursday to Saturday usually those from the Empire the previous week.

also had a Children’s Matinee on a Saturday Afternoon .In existence the Children became Members of The Shirley Temple Club with a Membership Card which was stamped on every visit when full you had a free entrance for one Show and at Xmas all Members received a GOODY BAG ( I remember getting such items as Dolly Mixtures and one occasion during the War an Orange was included a real treat)

We were not allowed to go in the Circle (?????? I Wonder Why —)

Since its closure it was used by several commercial businesses but now recently demolished

 

The PLAZA /GRANADA  —-

Westgate I suppose the most popular venue over the years very modern compared to the other Cinemas in town with a Wurlitzer Organ and a Delightful Restaurant and most probably the most popular The Resident Organists being Watson Holmes and Boyd Oxford and were also the Managers of the Cinema . Watson Holmes left and went to Blackpool to play at the Winter Gardens in competition with Reginald Dixon (Mr Blackpool) It also had a children’s Matinee The Granadiers which was on a saturday morning ideal for mothers who could do their shopping in town knowing the kids were safe.

As part of the session the organ would be played with the words of the songs shown on the screen for the Children to sing to. I remember they also had live shows and in particular I remember Max Bygraves appearing there in the early Fifties not as I went to the show but I was in Marks & Spencers buying a shirt when he came rushing in, excused himself and hurriedly bought two white shirts for use in the said show and cost him less than a pound each . I rather suspect it was the first cinema to have the wide screen and a stereophonic sound system.

The Granada was also demolished to make way for The Four Seasons (a PITY) it should have been incorporated in the same

 

The HIPPODROME —

Midworth Street An unusual Cinema as The Circle apart from the normal type had extensions down each side of the Auditorium and also some bench seating in the main part down each side

Later to be Renamed the Century and became probably the first Bingo Hall . I seem to recall it did at one time have a Circus there and it was the first real cinema in town It was also part of The Granada Group

A New Bingo Hall stands on the site I understand the old buildings were destroyed by Fire

 

The GRAND THEATRE —-

Leeming Street  later known as the ABC / Cannon.  Now a Snooker Hall

A rather large Cinema which also had a children’s matinee and was always a popular venue always seemed to have to queue there I understand it did become a Multiplex with three separate and smaller cinemas

It was for many years the home of the Mansfield Operatic Society and its annual productions which always played to a full house and tickets were sold in double quick time

 

The RITZ —-

Bull Farm on Chesterfield Road  A delightful small Cinema which was always a very popular and always well supported and frequented by the local populace of Bull Farm and Pleasley and staffed with locals who were exceptionally friendly and personally my favourite venue for many years. Small single storey / very modern interior /exceptionally clean and did not suffer from the competition of those cinemas in the town centre but suffered when television became the vogue, as did most cinemas. I do not recall if they had a children’s matinee

It always had a policy of two different shows each week and I do not recall it opening on Sundays but I may be wrong

On its closure it became a car showroom which I believe it still is today.

 

The People of Mansfield also visited cinemas in the surrounding area to catch films they had missed in town or they may have had relatives or boyfriends or girlfriends in the following localities ( I know I had at different times)

 

The TIVOLI  in Mansfield Woodhouse (owned by the same Proprietor as The Ritz)

The KINGS on Outram Steet At Sutton In Ashfield (often referred to as The Flea Pit

The PORTLAND on Forest Street or Possibly Station Road

The KINGS at Kirby in Ashfield on Victoria Road Bottom of The Hill

The STAR on Kingsway Kirkby In Ashfield ( which had as I remember had at least one row of double seats if not two ( ideal for courting couples )

The REGENT ( or perhaps the REGAL) on the corner of Diamond Avenue and Kingsway in Kirkby in Ashfield

The RITZ on Mansfield Road at Clipstone some what unusual as instead of a Circle it had a tiers of seats at the rear of the Auditorium

 

In the very early days of the cinema /silent films before specially built venues were built there must have been buildings that showed films. I seem to recall my parents mentioning in the far distant past three places but I cannot be sure

1– The old YMCA / Whiteleys Factory on Church Side

2– A building on Belvedere Street that was at one time during the war

3 — The British Restaurant, later to become the original offices of the DHSS due its proximity to the Old Labour Exchange and later The Gabrielle Osbourne School of Dancing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments about this page

  • I have a copy of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, which I like to read around Christmas time. In the front of the book is hand written a name and address on Wilson St with Ritz Estate also there. Is this what locals used to call that area? Kevin Robson 28-12-13.

    By Kevin Robson (27/12/2013)
  • The Ritz at Bull Farm did have a children’s matinee in the 1950s. It was, unusually, on Saturday afternoons and was attended by myself and others from the, then new, estate on the corner of Westfield Lane and Abbott Road, known as the “Orlit” houses. We would use the 103 bus service to Bright Square in Bull Farm and then cut through Bull Farm park to reach the cinema. At the end of the show we would then utilise the facilities in the park before making our leisurely way home. It was always a good programme with the usual serial which ensured that we had to return the following week to see how Superman or Captain Marvel etc. got out of the latest impossible situation. On one occasion the western film was stopped because the whole audience decided to join in the on screen fight (punches pulled of course!). The manager came on stage and threatened to terminate the show unless we all behaved. Naturally, we did as we wanted to see how the goodies beat the baddies – without our help!

    By Martin Gorner (17/07/2013)
  • I remember the Granada well, in fact I beat Shane Fenton and his group in a talent contest, the Managers name was Mr Dawson, and my Uncle was the chief projectionist there until he retired Alf Bailey

    By ALEC COLEMAN (22/05/2013)
  • I went to the Empire Cinema with my friends on saturday mornings 10am to 12 noon in the late 1950s it was sixpence in old money two and a half pence in new. Sometimes we went to the Granada 9-30am to 11-30am this was a bit more up market (the place not the kids, they misbehaved like we did) the price was nine pence about four pence in new money. Funny thing is I can’t remember what films we saw or who was in any of them.

    By Peter Bowler (21/12/2012)
  • The recently demolished building on Belvedere Street was built in 1920 as The Picturedrome, and acknowledged the abundance of cinemas in Mansfield by placing an advert in the local press reading “Yet Another Picture House!”. By 1928, it was being used for billiards, when Denman Cinemas took over Cinevars Ltd. and had no need for another cinema so close to their other venue, The Empire.

    By Howard Mansfield (27/12/2011)
  • I remember the Granda and its cafe very well. 3 courses for 25p at lunch time in the months just before it closed. The Hot Buttered Cabbage was a favorite of mine! However, whilst I remember the food and cinema inside very well I never appreciated how big it was, that is to say, how much area it occupied. Looking at aerial photos on the other site shows just what a massive building it was.

    By Berisford Jones (26/11/2011)
  • I seem to recollect that the British Resaurant on Belvedere Street, in it’s cinema/ dance hall days, used to be called ” The Queens “.

    By alan curtis (22/05/2011)
  • I remember going to the building on Belvedere St. when they showed a Cinematagraph Slide show. It would have been around 1940….The building was then to become The British Restaurant were you could get a ” School Dinner ” type meal for 4d for the dinner, and 2d for the sweet. You entered from the left side of the building and sat at a trestle table to eat your meal….You also had to take your own eating irons. That is Knife, Fork and Spoon. I believe the dinners ceased in 1951.

    By alan curtis (15/05/2011)
  • The Kings Cinema was on Portland Square, not Outram Street. The (flea pit) as you call it was built as the Queens Theatre, later named the Tivoli that was situated center of Outram Steet. It was a working theatre when first built playing melodramas and plays of the day. The largest cinema/theatre was the Portland Theatre, showing films for most of the year. But at holidays Easter/Whit/August had variety shows and a Christmas a pantomime…..one time we had Robin Hood on ice.

    By Anthony Patrick Godfrey (13/03/2011)
  • Like most cinemas in Mansfield they displayed still photos from the films showing outside. Before you went in I remember a gentleman outside the Grand Cinema dressed in a purple coat and peek cap who would keep everbody in line when you had to queue down the side of both sides of the building before going in. Such days have long gone. Leaving the “pictures or flicks as it was know the bus stop ret outside the cinema for” woodus” – happy days long gone.

    By g.burton(former wodus lad) (10/03/2011)
  • Since submitting my article on Cinemas I have found out and realized that the Belvedere Street building I referred to was the same one as the British Restaurant one.

    By Mgr (26/01/2011)

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