Old Ledbury - The Cinema, The Homend, Ledbury

The Cinema House

The Cinema House, 27 The Homend

Kington / Newent Reporter Newspaper 25 07 1914
Particulars of the Building. - [Special by U. L.]
Not since the Royal Hall was built has so much interest been centred in the erection of a new building as in the new Picture Palace, now rapidly approaching completion, on the site of the old Bank House premises in Homend-street. For a town of its size the form of entertainment known as "pictures" was a long while in finding a permanent home in Ledbury, and although it is now nearly two years ago since cinematograph pictures became a permanency in the town, it is gratifying to note that interest in this form of amusement, entertainment and education, for the cinematograph artist furnishes all three, shows no sign of waning, and undoubtedly the variety of the subjects treated and the comparative cheapness to patrons is responsible for the popularity which films have gained over classes and masses alike.

The Ledbury Picture Palace, which has risen out of what was formerly known as Bank House, is now nearly ready for opening and the following particulars of the building will be of interest to the crowds of patrons who are eagerly awaiting its re-opening. In the first place it has been planned to meet the requirements of the Cinematagraph Act - a very important point, let me add - and patrons will enjoy a feeling of the utmost security. The pit occupies a space 32 feet deep by 47 feet wide and is 35 feet high to the apex of the roof. Five steel principal rafters carry the timbers and boarding of the roof, which is covered with "Eternit" slates.
The pit stalls occupy 50 feet by 16 feet and the floor of this portion is "stepped" to permit an uninterrupted view of the pictures from each row of seats. The walls round the pit and stalls have a boarded dado 4 feet 6 in high, slightly stained, and varnished, and above this they are plastered and colour washed.
The balcony has an area of 50 feet by 20 feet with "stepped" floor the same as to pit stalls. Fibrous plaster work of artistic design will he fixed to the framing of balcony front.
There are 3 pairs of swing doors, fitted with panic bolts, giving means of access, or exit, to the pit. The entrants to the balcony is from the upper one of these in Bank Crescent, which is provided with a porch, and there is also a single door out of the pit stalls, which affords a fourth exit. It will, therefore, be seen that ample means of rapidly emptying the building in case of emergency have been provided.
The stage is at the Homend-street end of the pit and will be enclosed with panelled and moulded wood work below its floor, which is 4 feet above the pit. A fibrous plaster moulding, about 15 inches wide, with " egg and tongue" enrichment, ornamental corners and centre shield ornament, will surmount this, and form a setting for the picture screen with its dark frame.
The operating chamber is entirely outside the building, and the floor is covered with sheet iron, while asbestos sheets are fixed to the wall in front of the bioscope. The openings admitting the projection of light are fitted with an automatic shutter which can be instantaneously closed, and thus absolutely prevent any smoke or flame penetrating the building. The public will there-fore judge that everything possible has been done to ensure safety from fire.
Another important feature in buildings of this kind is ventilation, and this is obtained by the insertion of 16 inlet tubes of large size round the walls, and four of Boyle's latest pattern air pump extractors, with 27 inch heads, are fixed on the ridge, two over the pit, and two over the balcony. In addition there are four semi-circular windows in the west wall of the pit at a height of 16 feet from the floor, each one of which has its centre light hinged at the bottom to fall inwards. Round the balcony also four windows have lights to open above the transom.
The heating is derived from a sectional boiler fixed in a chamber beneath the operating room, from which pipes are carried to radiators placed along either side wall.
Lavatory accommodation is provided for with fittings of the most approved pattern. The entrance from Homend-street is by a short flight of granolithic steps, with wrought iron guard rails at top, to a roomy vestibule. Wrought steel collapsible gates at the street line secure this entrance.
The lighting is electric, and the arrangements in this respect are ample in all parts.
The work has been carried out in an expeditious and thorough manner by Messrs George HILL and Sons, builders, Homend-street, Ledbury, from plans prepared by and under the supervision and direction of Mr John POWELL, Victoria-road, Newtown, Ledbury.

The owners of the building are a small syndicate of three local gentlemen, who purchased the whole block of property known as Bank House, and the lessee and manager of the new entertainment resort is Mr L P HOULT, who for the past twelve months has been the manager of the cinema at the Royal Hall. When Mr HOULT came to Ledbury we had had a matter 'of nine months' experience of pictures, and it is too well-known to need repetition that from his advent be did everything possible to provide picture-goers with the best pictures to be obtained and introduced many improvements which made for the further comfort of the patrons. Like the rest of us who are in business or professional life, Mr HOULT is in the game for profit, and he recognises that a dissatisfied public bring no grist to the mill and at all times he has naturally endeavoured to satisfy his patrons. And in his preparations for the opening of the new abode of cinema in Ledbury I venture to say that he has done everything that is possible in this respect. A good, smart operator is another valuable desideratum in pictures, and in Mr A TWELVETREE, who since last August has been the operator, Mr HOULT has an able lieutenant. The attendants will be as before, and in due course a capable pianist for pictures will be I introduced.
For some weeks past Mr HOULT has been busily engaged in booking the best films for showing at the new picture palace, and from a glance at the programmes which have been booked for some months ahead the picture going public of the district can rest assured that some fine exclusives by the leading firms will be screened for their benefit. And if my engagements permits, I for one, intend to be present at one of the three opening performances on August Bank Holiday, when "The Last Days of Pompeii," adapted from Lytton's novel of that name, is to be attraction. And here's wishing the owners manager, and everybody concerned with the new project, an uninterrupted run of success.

Kington / Newent Reporter Newspaper 01 08 1914
The New Cinema House
No event in Ledbury for some time has been looked forward to with such pleasure and anticipations on the part of the residents of the town and district as the opening of the new Cinema House in Homend-street, Ledbury, which will positively open its doors to an admiring public on Monday next, when there will be three performances,at 2.30, 6.30, and 8.45 pm, and on Tuesday and Wednesday there will be performances at 8 p.m. For comfort the new resort of amusement will be hard to beat, while throughout the appointments will be found to be of the best.
For the opening programme on the first three days of next week Mr L P HOULT, the popular manager, has undoubtably secured a big attraction in Jury's masterpeice, "The Last Day's of Pompeii," filmed by the Ambrosio Co. of Torino, vividly portraying Lord LYTTONS famous novel. Not only the detail, but the atmosphere of the work has been achieved by the producers with marked success. One of the most effective of its five scenes is that which illustrates the destruction of the city of Pompeii by volcanic eruption, but the whole human story, laid amidst such romantic surroundings, cannot fail to appeal to all patrons of the cinema. Ledbury is fortunate in securing such an attraction for the holidays, and will doubtless show its appreciation of the entertainment offered. On Tuesday and Wednesday the film commences at 8pm. There is a special matinee on Monday for children.
On Thursday and Friday at 8pm and on Saturday at 2.30, 6.30 and 8.45p.m there will be a change of programme. "Fantomas V - the False Magistrate" is the star picture, and also the star of the Fantomas series, which has created such a wide interest amongst all lovers of the cinema. This picture is billed as being something really startling. Other pictures complete a promising programme.

[First Cinema Ad]

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 01 08 1914
The New Cinema House
The management of the Cinema House are to be congratulated on the splendidly attractive programme which they intend to show during their opening week. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the special item is "The Last Days of Pompeii" - a great masterpiece of film production by the Ambrosia Company. The subject of this splendid picture is taken from Lord Lytton's famous novel, it is a very worthy reflection of the author's ideals. The producer of the film has achieved a remarkable triumph in reproducing perfectly the atmosphere of the novel. The production of itself is perfect in every detail and the great scenes illustrate the destruction of the city by volcanic eruption, the fascinating to a degree, and must be seen to be believed. On Thursday, there will be a complete change of programme, when the chief film shown will be "Fantomas V., " or "The False Magistrate, ". This picture is acknowledged by good authorities to be the best of the Fantomas series ever shown. Besides this there will be a very strong and varied selection of humorous and dramatic films.
On Monday and Saturday, there will be matinees at 2.30 pm when school children will be admitted at reduced prices.
Every child attending the afternoon performance on Monday will be presented with a present.
For full list of times and prices see advertisement.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 08 08 1914
Generous Patronage
Bank Holiday Monday in Ledbury witnessed an unusually strong "send off" for the new Picture Palace, the first three performances of " The Last Day's of Pompeii" attracted as large a number of patrons as management could wish for. The number of these was calculated to be equal to half the population of the town . The house has cause for congratulation in the important fact that once in their seats, the patrons were not in any way disappointed as the great spectacle of the fall of Pompeii unrolled before them. Judging by remarks passed everything exceeded expectations, and the picture chosen for " the christening" will probably be remembered long into childhood and youth. If , as there is every reason to suppose, the Cinema House advances to such ages.During the week an important feature of the entertainment has been the showing of special war telegrams on the screen each evening by arrangement with the " Ledbury Guardian"

The special value of the solid plaster screen which the Cinema House have adopted is fully apparent in the perfect projection of the pictures thereon. The screen is impervious to light and results in a clearer picture generally.

For the week-end the star film is "Fantoma V" featuring the false magistrate. The remarkable series of the "Fantoma's" sensational dramas were decidedly enhanced in value by the addition of number V which has proved the most popular film, and which no lover of that which "grips" with intense interest should fail to see.

The programme for next week includes several star attractions "Protea II" is an ECLAIR special featuring the adventures of Protea and the infernal automobile, in a magnificent dramatic story. A Keystone comedy "Too Many Brides" and "Tiny Tim - featherweight champion boxer," complete the programme for the first half. "The Staircase of Death" is shown on Thursday, and is adapted from the novel by Mr William LE QUEX, entitled "Whatsoever a Man Soweth". The story of the Willow Pattern, an EDISON drama is a charming picture set in a border consisting of the edge of the willow pattern plate. The famous Chinese legend is well - illustrated in an exquisite oriental atmosphere. "The Weaker Strength" is a gripping Western drama. The French Pyrenees are portrayed in a cloured film with wonderful effect, "and includes The torrent of Ossan. " Love, Luck and Paint Brush" complete an attractive programme.

If the management of the new "show" continue with their present policy, which they have shortly put into words thus, "The Best of Everything," there is no doubt that the Cinema House will always hold a principal place in the amusements of Ledbury. Considerable credit is due to the excellent way in which the pictures have been thrown on the screen, and Mr TWELVETREES has certainly justified his reputation as a most skillful operator.

Kington / Newent Reporter Newspaper 08 08 1914
Large crowds attended the opening performance at the new Cinema House, Homend Street Ledbury, on Monday last, and were very pleased with the appearance of the new building. " The Last Day's of Pompeii" was the attraction, and it proved indeed a remarkable film. For the week-end the attraction is the Gaumont detective picture, " Fantomas V," which will draw crowded houses. For the first three days of next week."Protea ll " has been secured, and this will be found to be another exciting detective film by Eclair Co. Both programmes next week promise well.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 15 08 1914
There can be no doubt that generous patronage accorded to the Cinema House during its opening week has been much appreciated by the management. The efforts which have been made towards showing the best films under conditions of comfort and safety have proved decidedly popular. Given films like "The Last Days of Pompeii" and "Protea II," the Cinema House has come to stay. Added to the quality of the programme we have the pictures thrown on an excellent screen, whilst the pianoforte accompaniment - no small item in a Picture House is excellently conducted by Mdme. PELL. "Old St. Paul's," one of the finest pictures ever screened, will be given in the second half of next week.

Kington / Newent Reporter Newspaper 15 08 1914
The Cinema House has soon proved its popularity, for during the first six days over 4,000 people visited Ledbury's new house of entertainment.

Mr HOULT has asked us to say how much he thanks all those who have come to support him and also for their kind appreciation of the way in which the building has been constructed with regard to their comfort and safety.
The second week at the Cinema House opened with PROTEA ll, one of the most exciting pictures shown in Ledbury. The men in the employ of Messrs Geo. HILL and Son who assisted in the construction of the Cinema House were invited to the entertainment on Wednesday evening, and they were rather in doubt which to admire most - their own handiwork or Protea.

To-day ( Friday) and tomorrow is shown a film adapted from Mr Wm. LE QIOX's novel, " Whatsoever a man soweth", and is entitled " The Staircase of Death " . One of the most interesting pictures in the programme is "The Story of the Willow Pattern", the well known Chinese legend. This film is produced in a border consisting of a plate edge.

Next week the famous exclusive " Old St Paul's" from the late Harrison AINSWORTH's novel will be screened. This is a film which everybody should see. There are many striking historical scenes, and the Great Fire of London, which is wonderfully produced, cost some thousands of pounds.

A special feature of the Cinema House is the Matinee which is held every Tuesday at 5p.m. To this, as well as the Saturday matinee, all children are admitted for 1d, 2d, 3d.

Ledbury Guardian 22 08 1914
A first class star picture is showing at the above this week-end in the shape of "Old St. Paul''s, " a remarkable production adapted from Harrison AINSWORTH'S well known novel. The scenes include the fire of London, depicted with extraordinary vividness, and also the outbreak of the Great Plague. No expense or trouble has been spared in rendering these outstanding scenes, both realistic and impressive. In addition, the main theme of the picture is particularly calculated to interest and "grip" dealing as it does with the philanderings of the second King Charles during this crisis in the great city's history. The scenic value of the picture is only second in importance to the story itself. " A Romance of the North-West, " is an excellent LUBIN specialty, and " An Absent-Minded Mother, " by EDISON, is chief of the comic element. Other films complete a well selected programme. Each evening's performance witnesses intense interest in the war telegrams, which are thrown upon the screen directly they are received at the Cinema.

During the first half of next week, "The Devil's Eye" will be the star film. Sensation follows sensation in this remarkable drama, and the hero - a nobleman who is unjustly accused of theft - proves to be equal to many unusual emergencies. " Love and Gasoline, " is a good Keystone comedy, and the remainder of the programme contains several good supporting films.

Kington / Newent Reporter Newspaper 22 08 1914
The Cinema House, in spite of the war and the absence on service of many of its regular patrons, continues to have good houses every performance. From the attendance this week it seems every reason to conclude that the people of Ledbury are glad to avail themselves of the comfort and safety which is to be found at the Cinema House. The great draw this week proved to be " Old St. Paul's" one of the most wonderful and realistic pictures ever shown upon a screen. The scenes portraying the Great Fire of London were eagerly followed and were more than once applauded.
Next week an exciting film, " The Devils's Eye." is to be shown. An interesting synopsis of this film will be found in our advertisement columns.The well known Keystone Comedies are becoming very popular in Ledbury, and " Love and Gasoline" will prove to be one of the best of the series. The latter end of the week is provided for with a full programme and all the films promised are likely to again draw good houses. The popularity of the Cinema House is evidently spreading if one may judge from the number of people who now drive or motor in from the country.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 29 08 1914
A first class star picture is showing at the above this week-end in the shape of "Old St. Paul's," a remarkable production adapted from Harrison AINSWORTH'S well known novel. The scenes include the fire of London, depicted with extraordinary vividness, and also the outbreak of the Great Plague. No expense or trouble has been spared in rendering these outstanding scenes, both realistic and impressive. In addition, the main theme of the picture is particularly calculated to interest and "grip" dealing as it does with the philandering''s of the second King Charles during this crisis in the great city's history. The scenic value of the picture is only second in importance to the story itself. " A Romance of the North-West," is an excellent LUBIN specialty, and " An Absent-Minded Mother," by EDISON, is chief of the comic element. Other films complete a well selected programme. Each evening's performance witnesses intense interest in the war telegrams, which are thrown upon the screen directly they are received at the Cinema.

During the first half of next week, "The Devil's Eye" will be the star film. Sensation follows sensation in this remarkable drama, and the hero - a nobleman who is unjustly accused of theft - proves to be equal to many unusual emergencies. " Love and Gasoline," is a good Keystone comedy, and the remainder of the programme contains several good supporting films.

Kington / Newent Reporter Newspaper 29 08 1914
The programme at the Cinema House for the first part of this week included one of the best humorous films ever seen in Ledbury. "Love and Gasoline," by the well-known Keystone company, caused roars of laughter from start to finish. "The Devils's Eye" added to the excitement of an excellent programme, which provided the management with good houses at every performance. The latter end of the week includes a feature comedy "The Assistant Commissioner's Predicament," and another amusing Keystone comic.

Next week will in all probability prove one of the biggest weeks the Cinema House has had since opening. The British Army film is at the present moment drawing crowded houses in London and all the big provincial towns, and with the vital interest the Army has for us at a time such as we are now experiencing, Ledbury people will undoubtably show their appreciation of this splendid production. There is no doubt that any of the men shown in this picture next week at the Cinema House are now in France and Belgium fighting German invaders.

There is a special matinee every Tuesday at the Cinema House, the performance commencing at 5 o' clock.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 05 09 1914
As was confidently expected the premier attraction in Ledbury this week was the British Army film at the Cinema House. On Monday evening a crowded house witnessed the first performance of Part 1, "The British Army in time of Peace". Amongst those present were Lady COLVILLE, Rev CARNEGY, Colonel OMMANEY, Mr CROFT and party, Major WEBB, Mr and Mrs MARTIN, Mr C B MASEFIELD and Miss MASEFIELD and other well known Ledbury people. The film proved to be more than equal to expectations, and the various steps in the career of a soldier were beautifully and realisticly portrayed. The latter portion of the week produced the second part of the British Army film. "War" and on Thursday night the house was more crowded than ever. Four other attractive films were given, including an amusing trick picture by LUBIN "At the Bottom of the Sea".

A special feature of this week's entertainment has proved to be the patriotic songs which at every performance were sung by Mr L P HOULT.

A thrilling exclusive " The great Python Robbery" is booked to appear at the Cinema House next week. This film has caused the greatest interest wherever it has been shown, and it is not likely that Ledbury will prove an exception.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 12 09 1914
"The Great Python Robbery" is drawing crowded houses this week-end. The film is full of exciting episodes and these include a leap from an airship to an express train. Next week that big exclusive picture which so wonderfully illustrates Sir A. CONAN DOYLE's "Rodney STONE" is booked to appear. "The House of Temperley" is sure to prove a big draw. Not the least portion of this programme this week has been the singing of patriotic songs by Mr. HOULT. " There's a Foe at the Gates of England, " and "Rule Britannia, " being the most popular. The chorus is thrown on the screen and heartily joined in by the whole house. Mr. HOULT is to be congratulated on this part of the programme, which has been heartily applauded at every performance.

Local War Fund
Mr. L. P. HOULT has kindly offered to give a benefit performance at the Cinema House on Tuesday, September 22nd, at 8 p.m., in aid of the Local Relief War Fund and the Sailors' and Soldiers' Dependents' War Fund. The proceeds are to be divided equally between the two. The offer has been gratefully accepted and Mr. HOULT has booked a very attractive programme, including Naval and Army scenes etc., in addition to which the best local talent have promised to contribute to the evening' s entertainment. Tickets will be on sale from Monday next the 14th. Each ticket will be numbered and guarantees a seat. Such deserving funds as these should meet with the hearty support all in and around Ledbury and it is to be hoped that the public will assist Mr. HOULT in making the evening a huge success.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 19 09 1914
"The House of Temperley" has proved itself to be one of the most interesting pictures yet shown at the Cinema House, if one may judge by the crowded and appreciative house which witnessed this film on Thursday evening. The other portion of the programme was also of considerable merit and the "Keystone Comic" caused as much amusement as ever. An extra turn in the shape of Mr. Leslie PELL, has also produced a well merited applause this week. Mr. PELL gave two songs at each performance and each of these was thoroughly appreciated by the audience. - Next Tuesday, a grand Benefit Performance is advertised in aid of the local War Funds. A first class programme of Naval and Military scenes will be given at each performance during the first half of the week. On Thursday will be shown the great film "Lost in Mid Ocean" in which the film producers purchased outright an Atlantic liner and after photographing vivid and exciting scenes of shipwreck, sank the whole vessel in mid ocean.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 26 09 1914
The Benefit Concert in aid of the local War Funds on Tuesday evening was a great success. Particular credit is due to the Band of C Company under the conductorship of Mr. JESSETT which has only lately been formed. This band gave selections outside the Cinema House before the performance and later played the British, French, Belgian, and Russian National Anthems. The music was very creditable and the players are to be thanked for giving their time and service in the cause of charity. The programme was excellent, the wonderful picture of the Army and Navy being enthusiastically applauded. The other gentlemen who kindly gave their services were Messrs. HOBRO, BACHE, TEAGUE and WHYLD. Mr. BARKLEY gave three violin solos, each of which received well merited applause. In the course of a few words Mr. HOULT announced that he intended going to London on Thursday to offer himself in connection with the war. Mr. HOULT has already had eight years with the Admiralty, and his resolve to go and do his share of THE work was greeted with considerable enthusiasm. The present staff of the Cinema House will remain intact and performances will be given as before.

This evening and to-morrow (Saturday) an excellent programme is being given which includes the great feature film "Lord in Mid-Ocean. " This picture is the one which was so talked about at the time of its being produced. The company purchased outright a large liner and then sunk the vessel in mid- ocean. In addition to the shipwreck there are quite a number of other exciting scenes.

Next week, "The Master Criminal, " is the principal picture. This film is in five acts, and like the "House of Temperley, " has splendid effects. The plot has been taken from the famous novel by BALZAC, "Trompe la Morte, " it is full - of incident and abounds in thrilling situations.

The usual matinee will be given on Tuesday afternoon next at 5 o' clock.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 03 10 1914
Patrons of the Cinema House will be glad to note that Mr. HOULT has temporarily returned to Ledbury. Having offered himself in London for active service the authorities have taken his name and he is liable to be called upon any day. This week the attractions have been " The Mystery of the White Car" and in the latter part of the week " The Master Criminal". This is the film which is being shown to-night, and in its wealth of incident and powerful acting, has been shown to crowded houses in England during the past six months. Next week the well known popular film " Rip the Dog Detective" will be shown in the first part of the week and the great Kalem drama " The Treasure Ship" the latter half.

" Go to the Pictures" is the title of an interesting slide which is shown on the screen. This advises people to still patronise " the pictures" during the war in order to provide employment for the 150,000 persons who are engaged in the cinematograph industry in this country.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 10 10 1914
There is an extra long programme to be seen at the Cinema House this week-end.

"The Treasure Ship" is a splendid drama of adventures, and the other pictures shown are all good. The whole programme lasts till 10.30 p.m. Next week the Cinema House is showing the great London success - "A Message from Mars. " On Tuesday ( Ledbury Fair ), there will be four performances at 2.15, 3.45, 6.30 and 8.45, so that every visitor to Ledbury may have the opportunity of witnessing this magnificent picture. Besides "A Message from Mars" there will be shown a most amusing comedy with John BUNNY and Flora FINCH, and other films. The Cinema House is now comfortably heated every evening.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 17 10 1914
A "Message from Mars" proved to be one of the premier attractions on Ledbury Fair Day to judge by the crowds who visited the Cinema House. That the interest covered every performance is a proof of the popularity of this picture. Today and tomorrow (Saturday) a long and varied programme is provided. This includes three splendid dramas - comedies and an ever mirth-provoking Keystone. " The Barrier of Ignorance" is a feature film of the greatest interest, and the story as it evolves is keenly followed to its conclusion.

One of the biggest programmes yet shown in Ledbury will be shown at the Cinema House next week. The films include JURY'S magnificent exclusive "Raised from the Ranks, " a story of military life which as yet has no equal on the screen, and GAUMONTS'S great naval drama "England's Menace. " The huge poster's of these films now being exhibited in the Homend give some slight idea of the treat in store for Ledbury people. It is no exaggeration to say that few towns the size of Ledbury are able to have these expensive productions. Performances will be given each evening at the usual times, and for the benefit of country patrons there is a matinee performance on Saturday at 2.30 and on Tuesday at 5.0 p.m. Both these pictures have a strong appeal to the imagination of the public at the present time as has been proved by the crowds who have witnessed these films in London, Manchester and Birmingham. The rest of the programme is well up to standard and many exciting and laughable features will be found.

The following letter has been sent by Mr. HOULT to those residents in Ledbury and district who have patronised the Cinema House:-
The Homend
October 20th 1914
Dear Sir, - In August last I opened the Cinema House, and since that time have been honoured with continued support from patrons in Ledbury and neighbourhood, for which I desire to express my grateful thanks.
Having seen service with H.M. Forces, I felt I could do no less than again offer myself at the present crisis, and through the kind offer of a local gentleman to keep an eye on the Cinema House during my absence, it has enabled me to leave Ledbury with the full knowledge that your interests will be looked after. I may say that four of my staff have volunteered and three are now with the Colours.
I trust to return to Ledbury at the conclusion of the war, and during the time of absence I would like you to give your kind support to the Cinema House.
The best programme will be given at every performance, and during the winter months the hall will be evenly heated and fresh arrangements will be continually made for your comfort.
Since living in Ledbury I have been favoured with many friends and patrons and I trust you will not think I am asking over much when I express the hope that you will continue to patronise the Cinema House. The National motto, "Business as Usual, " is strongly applicable to the picture industry as there are over 150,000 engaged in this country alone.
On my return I look forward to again resume the happy times I have passed in connection with local sports and games.
Once more thanking you for your past help.
I remain,
Very truly yours,
(Signed) L. P. HOULT.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 24 10 1914
The programme provided during the first portion of the week was full of incident from beginning to end. Items - gay, but not boisterously gay - succeeded one another, with a drama film sandwiched. But the feature of the programme was undoubtedly the military drama, "Raised from the Ranks" - a magnificent film which interested the audience from the first turn of the wheel to the last. Needless to say large houses were attracted. This weekend an exceptional programme is provided and patrons are given the opportunity of witnessing a real war film - "The Defence of Alost. " Scenes from the actual firing line are portrayed with remarkable vividness. The film also gives fine pictures of the Belgian cavalry and field artillery passing through Alost, the Red Cross ambulance wagons, accompanied by a large number of priests on cycles, and the armoured motor cars which have proved so valuable in the present campaign. The audience also witnessed a never-ending stream of silent trudging humanity, carrying in uncouth bundled things dear to them. Then there is the actual fighting line, a barricade across the road from which the Belgian infantry issue again and again, and charging up the street send their leader messengers of death into the ranks of the foe.

Another film of great interest is that entitles "England's Menace, " a great naval drama, which has been the sensation of the cinematograph world. There are, in addition, a number of good comics. On Thursday evening, the Belgian refugees, at present in Ledbury, attended the Cinema House by invitation.

For the first part of next week the management have secured another exceptionally interesting war film, "Stricken Belgium, " and for the week-end "The Sack of Termonde. " Patrons should certainly make a point of seeing these films.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 31 10 1914
The Sack of Termonde
In the old days theatre-goers were contented if the day bill contained a drama of two or three acts, and a sketch or a farce, the entertainment lasting perhaps three hours. To such a pitch we have arrived that as at the Cinema House this week there are presented in 2 hours and a half a warm film, a drama in two parts, a second play, humorous sketches and sundry scenes thrown in - a veritable theatrical omnibus! Of the programme shown on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday first place must be given to the war film "Stricken Belgium, " which naturally attracted exceptionally large houses. The principal drama "A Mohammedan Conspiracy" was a powerful entrancing story, abounding in striking situations. This evening and to-morrow (Saturday) a most interesting war film is screened dealing with the "Sack of Termonde. " What is justly claimed as being one of the most wonderful triumphs of the cinematograph is the drama entitled "The Three Musketeers. " it is hardly necessary to say that in towns where JURY'S Masterpiece has been shown, it has been an enormous success. This film cost £16,000 to produce and is in six parts. It is a faithful reproduction on the screen of the well-known work by DUMAS.
The programme provided for the first part of next week is again of surprising excellence. The war film is "The Entry of the Germans into Brussels, " which is without doubt the most interesting war film yet screened. Here we have remarkably portrayed the ruthless Teutonic invaders entering the capital with their goose step. The dramas include "Soerette's Sacrifice" and "The Fringe on the Glove, " etc. The comic element is well provided for. Mr TWELVETREES continues to act as operator, and the clearness of the pictures and the even way in which the programme is carried through is due to his exceptional ability.

Tilleys Almanack 1916 - Retrospective

14 04 1915 - 400 Children entertained at Cinema House by Mrs HAWKER

Tilleys Almanack 1916 Retrospective
25 11 1915 - Successful Concert promoted by Mrs A R ROWDEN, at the Cinema House, in aid of the British Farmers' Red Cross Fund

Recollections of the Cinema
The following article was written by Judy BAKER ( Rose ) in July 2013 following interviews with Mrs Emily PHELPS ( Grimes ) former manageress, Mr Dennis GRIMES former manager, Mr Cliff STEPHENS and Mrs Joan STEPHENS cinema goers.
The building in The Homend, had been a cinema since 1914. Some years before that it had been a convent.
During the time it was a cinema the building stretched back up into Bank Crescent as far as the bowling green. There was an entrance off the High Street and a side entrance in Bank Cresent. The cinema had around 400 seats.

As a young girl Emily PHELPS could remember visiting the cinema to see the black and white silent movies at a time when the admission fee was 2d to sit on wooden forms.

The first remembered managers were Mr and Mrs CROSSLEY and later Mr and Mrs Tom VICARAGE. The men also worked as the 'operator' which entailed running the projector as well as managing the building. The women worked as front of house and took the entrance fee.
Joan STEPHENS remembers thar Mrs CROSSLEY always wore black satin and a small hat. Mr CROSSLEY always wore a suit.
[Grimes Family outside Cinema]
Members of the GRIMES family outside Ledbury Cinema - Ann JACKSON (fiancee) of Mr Dennis GRIMES, Mrs John ROBINSON, Mrs Reg W GRIMES, Mr Dennis GRIMES, and Mr Reg W GRIMES
Cutting Dennis and Ann GRIMES Collection DG8...
During its heyday the cinema was owned by a Mr N.J.ROBSON of Craven Cinemas' Ltd, Craven Arms. He also owned the cinemas in Church Stretton, Craven Arms and Tenbury Wells.
Mr ROBSON was a regular visitor and Dennis GRIMES remembers him to be a good boss. There was also an area general manager called Mr W E EDGE who visited once a month.
The films were distributed from Birmingham and delivered by the British Film Transport Service.
[Family Cinema Tradition]
Family Cinema Tradition - Reg GRIMES, Emily GRIMES and Dennis GRIMES
Cutting Dennis and Ann GRIMES Collection DG9...
Mrs PHELPS left her home town of Ledbury and had gone to live in London with her sister who was working there. In London she met Mr GRIMES, who was born in Bodmin. Whilst they were both working at The Royal School of Music, Mr GRIMES worked with Sir Malcolm SARGENT. During World War 2 Reg was a sergeant in the Artillery.
After the war they came to live in Ledbury at Ant's Nest in Church Street, leaving their home in Chelsea. Mr GRIMES went to work at SWIFTS garage in The Homend, and later in the 1940's became the cinema manager and his wife Emily joined him. In 1952 Mr GRIMES left his job as manager of the cinema to become manager at The Vine Stores in New Street, working for Mr TAYLOR, a grocer in the High Street.
Mrs PHELPS then became manageress. She continued in this role for the next six years before she retired.
Mr and Mrs GRIMES's son Dennis, played a leading part in the life of Ledbury cinema and its history, at the age of twelve or thirteen he started working in the projection room after school and at the weekend. He continued as chief operator after he left school until his mother retired. He then became manager.
Ledbury Reporter Newspaper 19 06 1953
[Ledbury Cinema 1953]
On a Sunday night a new film was shown, then another new one on Monday, Tuesday and through Wednesday. The programme changed again for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Because of the three new films a week, Joan and Cliff STEPHENS said that they and many others would go three times a week as it was affordable and there was little else to do in Ledbury.
Mrs PHELPS remembers cowboy films being very popular as were romances. Also shown were cartoons and even Dracula films. She also remembers space travel causing a stir and rock and roll musicals.
Joan and Cliff STEPHENS remember the costs of admission being 10d to sit in the front on wooden benches, halfway back it cost 1s 9d, and it was 2s 3d to sit upstairs. Dennis can remember, as a tall well built boy, running in and squeezing onto the end of a wooden bench and the boy at the other end falling off. Some of the men I talked to said they would tell their girlfriend to meet them inside so they didn't have to pay for her. If a young man wanted to impress a girl he would buy tickets for upstairs.
Joan STEPHENS recalls that children under 16 years old were not allowed in without an adult so her sister Marg BARNES ( Harris ) would take lots of children in with her who otherwise wouldn't have been able to go in.
Pauline PREEDY ( Ellis ) remembers her father telling the story of one of the local young men regularly being asked to leave the cinema during a programme due to him having a very distinct loud laugh. One day he and his friends went in with him dressed as a woman in the hope the manager wouldn't recognise him. He got in and all was well until he laughed out loud and was thrown out again. Joan and Cliff STEPHENS knew who this was the minute the story was related to them and recalled this story.
Many local couples did their courting there in the back row. The men could buy their girls chocolates and sweets next door at Miss MINETT'S little sweet shop. This shop was to the right of the front entrance steps of the cinema and to the left was Mr BORN the chemist. Dennis GRIMES remembers there was a cellar under the chemist shop that had a manhole in the floor of the cinema near the entrance and often Brian BORN the son of the chemist used to lift the cover and pop his head up and frighten the customers of the cinema as they came in.
Mrs PHELPS says she never had any trouble keeping 'good order' and that if a teenager became unruly during the rock and roll films they always listened to her when she spoke to them. Children under 12 were not admitted after 7pm and under 5's were never allowed in.
In a newspaper article Dennis said that at the time of his mothers retirement in 1952 the cinema had not suffered a big drop in audiences unlike some of the bigger city cinemas. Several improvements and changes were made in the years previous. First came 3 dimensional film and wide screen was installed. Cinemascope presentation was introduced and a new sound system was provided.
There were many people who worked at the cinema at one time or another. Dennis could remember cleaners Edie GIBBONS, his aunt, Nessie VICARAGE and Mona DAVIES, Nessie was also an usherette as was Hazel FORTEY, Margaret BEAUMONT, Evelyn GRIMES his sister, Ann GIBBONS his cousin, and Vi BEAUMONT. Projectionists were Ernie GIBBONS his uncle, Dick SHIRVINGTON, John ROBINSON, John JONES, there were probably more.
Dennis GRIMES appointed manager.
Ledbury Reporter Newspaper 21 11 1958
Monday to Sunday at 7pm with Saturdays and Bank Holidays Continuous from 5pm
Prices of Admission - Stalls 1 shilling, 1 shilling 9d, 2 shillings 3d, Balcony ( bookable ) 2 shillings 9d
[Ledbury Cinema 1958]
Van HEFLIN and Anne BANCROFT will be on the screen on Sunday Nov 23rd, for one day only in ' The Raid '. Also showing will be ' The Spider ' starring Richard CONTE and Fay MARLOWE.
Monday to Wednesday brings Robert STACK and Lauren BACALL who co-star in ' The gift of love ' a 20th Century Fox drama in Eastmancolour of a little orphan's fight for adoption. The supporting film is ' Blood Arrow ' with Scott BRADY, Paul RICHARDS and Phylis COATES as the cast.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Paramount presents the laughable character Jerry LEWIS as ' The Delicate Delinquent ' with Darren McGAVIN and Martha HYER as the co-stars. Mike DAMON a young patrolman in the New York police force is out of favour with his superiors because he is not tough enough in his handling of juvenile delinquents. Mike feels that out of a mob of delinquent youngsters there must be one good one whom he feels he can help to a fresh start in life. So commences the story. Also showing will be ' In the Severn Valley '
June 1959
Cinema Programme
[Ledbury Cinema 1959]
This programme brought back memories of wooden seats and cheap admissions for movie fan Lloyd MEREDITH. Cinema House was one of the main sources of entertainment in town. From the age of 10, Lloyd was a keen visitor to the venue. Lloyd says patrons queued for entrance either on The Homend or the side door off Bank Crescent. The cinema wasnt plush. The cheaper seats were wooden until they replaced them. But the prices couldn't be knocked. A ticket for the stalls could be had for a shilling. A balcony seat, which was bookable, cost two shillings and nine pence.
There were 17 main features on the bill in June 1959 including the Tommy STEELE Story, I Was Monty's Double with John MILLS, and Sleeping Tiger with Dirk BOGARDE.
Clipping Brian JONES Collection Album 7 BJ299a...
June 1960
Cinema Programme
[Ledbury Cinema 1958]
[Ledbury Cinema 1958]
Original Programme Dennis and Ann GRIMES Collection DG21 and DG22...
04 02 1961
The cinema closed on 4th Febraury 1961 and Dennis left to take a job at local company PREECE and SIMMONDS as a trainee painter and decorator, learning the trade from Charlie SMITH. The cinema did open briefly once again for about six months when John JONES was the operator/manager. The reason for the closure was thought to have been lack of support mainly due to the impact of television.
[Dennis starting the machine for the last time]
Dennis GRIMES in the Operating Room, starting the machine for the last time...
Cutting Dennis and Ann GRIMES Collection DG7
On closure, many of the seats were salvaged and used in the old Market Theatre.
According to a letter in the Ledbury Reporter in 1964 the cinema was still an empty building. Later the building was used by Spendright / Vivo as a Supermarket, Ledburys first supermarket style shop.
At the time of the interviews July 2013 the building still stands and the entrance and steps up off the Homend are still there, it is now a hardware shop.

September 2013
[Cinema House today]
Cinema House...
Photo Chris PONTER Collection
[Bank Crescent Entrance]
Bank Crescent Entrance...
Photo Chris PONTER Collection

Facebook Members Comments
I went a few times when I was a kid, prices 1/-, 1/9d or upstairs for 2/9d!! After it closed we had to go to Hereford or Malvern and I remember going to Malvern to see West Side Story and missing the very end as we had to run like mad to catch the last train home!!...MI
Can remember always wanting to be able to afford to go upstairs, did eventually but had to save up, films always breaking down and sneaking in over the Toilet wall, and more...TW
My Dad used to get the train from Greenway halt into Ledbury to go to the cinema...SW
Dad said he was always being chucked out!...LJ
Whenever we got excited during a Western all you would hear was SHHHHhhhhhhhh and the Torch being shone at you, We use to call it the Little film and the Big film, Pathe News and a Trailor inbetween, Roy Rogers for ever...TW
I also remember dad being very indignant as he was watching a film and the air raid siren went so he never got to see the end of the film...LJ
I never saw it as a cinema but remember the stars painted on the ceiling when it was the VIVO supermarket...SM
I only went upstairs to the balcony if my mum took me, otherwise it was right at the front with a cricked neck at the end of the film!...SG
I can remember going to see Davy Crockett!...JB
My Nan took me there to see, "Shaggy Dog", about 1956...GH

Cinema House, then became SPENDRIGHT / VIVO supermarket
[VIVO Supermarket 1973]
Promotional leaflet from VIVO supermarket
Photo Ismet MUSTAFIC Collection IM1...
I remember Vivo, my kids look at me as thought I am mad ...SP
Bacon, less than 50p a lb...JM
I've no idea why I kept it but it is certainly interesting now to see the prices of food then!...IM
It was my youngest daughters 18th a couple of weeks ago and I got her a card with prices for 1995......that was a shock, but prices from 40 years ago are unbelievable...JM
A couple of years after this poster VIVO became Spar of course, and now, it's a hardware shop...IM
Did vivo stand for anything?...LJ
I worked at Vivo as a Saturday girl, I was on cheese and cooked meats, also learnt how to bone a side of bacon and then use the machine to slice it! no pre-packs then!...BB
Yes is a rather strange word, would imagine it has some sort of significance...SP
I learnt all that too, boning sides of bacon and then slicing it up. Glad that it brought back some memories for you ... pleasant I trust...IM
I was only 15, would'nt be allowed anywhere near a machine at that age nowadays!! If I remember correctly, Mr WEBB was the Manager...BB
I worked on the tills with Mrs CARLESS and Mrs STEPHENS, they really looked after me, you really had to rattle through on those old tills too, good days...SD
I too worked with those great ladies and they were very good to me too. Mrs S no longer with us but Mrs CARLESS still very well. ...JB
I remember going from the Junior School to VIVO for Mrs BARNES Friday lunchtimes. Imagine teachers sending 10 year olds out to do their shopping these days!!! ...SM
I seem to remember it had been a cinema (The shop moved later) and the ceiling was painted with stars...SM
Two of us used to go to Mrs BROOKS house in lunchtime and CLEAN it wash up etc. We must have been mad imagine that these days. I to remember the stars on the ceiling in the old cinema but I only remember it as supermarket....JB
My first job was at VIVO. I used to fill shelves. Rubber stamp prices on the tins, there was a tray of individual price stamps. Got locked in the cold store in Bank Crescent one day. That was a laugh. Worked with Shirley CARPENTER, Elaine COLE, Mrs CARLESS, Mrs CARPENTER and Mr WEBB. Left not long after they moved to the new shop. ...JL
I remember doing Mrs BROOKS errands, going to the bank,and shops and also going to her house and doing her washing up, she must have got us all doing it! as you said would not be allowed nowadays!...BB
When I was at Vivo around 1972/73 Elaine COLE, Lily GIBBS, Margaret SHAYLE, Pat VICKERS, Eileen JONES, Mrs HINCE, Mr WEBB, he used to walk down the aisle to me singing Hey Jude...JB
I can't believe, this post of a VIVO flyer could evoke so many different memories!! Fantastic!!...BB
Thats the name I've been trying to remember - Pat VICKERS, she was so lovely to work with, and of course Mr WEBB, who was also lovely, hated cleaning those big fridge counters on a saturday closing time though. If I remember right Judy, you got me that job at VIVO!! ...BB
No I didn't think the poster would evoke so many memories. I guess it only takes a small trigger to get the memories back and a group of people who were around at the same time...IM

1914 Newent Reporter Newspaper - Herefordshire History
1914 - 1919 Ledbury Guardian Newspaper - Herefordshire History
1916 Tilley's Almanack
Photographs are credited to the owners
Comments are from members of the Old Ledbury Facebook Group
Cuttings from Ledbury Reporter newspapers
Transcribed by Judy BAKER ( Rose )