OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
When I was growing up in Ciren , if you wanted to see a film or as we said then “go to the Flix”; you had a choice of two Cinemas. There was the Gaumont on the corner of Victoria road and London road which had opened in 1924 as “The Picture House” and the Regal just up the road in Lewis Lane which opened in November 1937.
I remember being taken to the Gaumont, by my Mother in the 50’s to see films by the likes of “Old Mother Riley “ and my favourite; Mr Pastry, aka Richard Hearne. Mr Pastry was a black suited (or raincoat ) wearing old man with a Walrus moustache and black bowler hat. More slapstick than character actor, like an older version of Mr Bean, he would get into all sorts of scrapes and adventures. He also had a black and white television series, which each week, would have me laughing and screaming at his antics watched on our 14inch screen Murphy that my Dad rented from “Rentaset”.
The Regal was bigger than the Gaumont and not only had a wider proscenium and a 12 foot deep stage, but it also had two dressing rooms for visiting entertainers. The Regal provided a wide range of entertainment and as well as films, there were regular events along the same lines as those at the burgeoning Holiday Camps. Butlins style; “Glamourous Grandmother” Competitions and Pancake tossing were regular well-supported features. Many readers will also remember with affection, paying sixpence to get in for the ABC minors every Saturday morning ( Balcony 9 pence) and who can resist not singing the words of the ABC Minors song whenever they hear the tune 'Blaze Away' ? I can’t!
The Gaumont closed around 1963 to make way for the flats that stand in its place now. The Regal closed in 1977 and was demolished in 2007.