Memories of Mansfield Cinemas
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
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
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