Kiveton & Wales Heritage

Kiveton & Wales Heritage

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The Cinema

The Regal Presents :

By Derek Newbold [Des]

In answer to our request for anecdotes about the Regal, Kiveton Park, Des relates the two following stories :

I used to go to the Saturday morning ‘rush’. The film this particular Saturday was Singing the Blues. At the interval I was surprised to find that my ticket had the winning number and at the end of the show I proudly collected my prize which was a 78 rpm recording of Tommy Steele singing ‘Singing the Blues’. Never having won a prize before I was absolutely delighted with the record.

The following week off I went again to the pictures and low and behold my number came out again. I went to pick up my prize and it was another 78 rpm record, this time with Guy Mitchell singing his version of the same song ‘Singing the Blues’. I loved both records equally both very big recording artistes at that time, the 1950’s.

Another time, at one of the evening performances a film named The Garden of Eden was showing and had obviously been advertised as having scenes of nudity and was an A or even X rating. Adults only. My elder brother Terry and his pals were going to see this film which was apparently the talk of the village.

I asked him to get me in with them; he was hesitant at first but after a bit of persuading he condescended. The film turned out to be a documentary of sorts with top nudity only. From the waist down, frontal, you never saw a thing. The picture house was packed to capacity – with men! I found it all a bit of a bore and couldn’t wait to get next door where ‘Kiveton Feast’ was set up on the recca with all the rides, stalls, dodgems etc. A little story about ‘all in the mind’ I guess.

Courtesy of Derek Newbold

More memories of the Regal Cinema

Born in 1938 I was brought up at No. 15 Red Hill, Kiveton Park and on leaving school in 1953 was apprenticed to Harry Smith who ran a building business at his premises on Station Road. Harry started out as a wheelwright but moved on to general building work in later life.

Harry many jobs for local people and also did maintenance work at the Regal Cinema.

I remember on our numerous visits to the cinema calling at either Fittons (now the dentists), or Grahams, opposite the Regal, who both made their own ice cream and sold sweets, which we took to the show.

On each Saturday morning shows were put on for the kids. You would purchase your ticket, all of which had a number, and a draw, made by Ethel Goddard, was held at the interval. If you had the lucky number, you might win a box of chocolates or two free seats for the next week’s performance. If it was your birthday you also got a prize.

It was Harry Smith who was asked to fit a canopy over the front of the Regal and render the frontage, in an effort to try and attract bigger audiences as trade began to dwindle, due to the arrival of television.

He did, however, have a foot in both camps, as our Saturday morning job was to go around the village erecting television aerials in addition to the other type of work he undertook.

In the roof of the cinema were three big light shades, which had to be uncoupled in order to change the light bulbs when they had fused. This took up an entire morning. The lights had to be cranked down and back up again on a winch. I would be stand on a gantry up above the ceiling to perform the task.

I remember once we were working near the stage and suddenly this figure emerged from behind the curtains. Quite unnerving! We wondered where the apparition had come from.

There was a fire proof box made out of concrete which housed the projectors and ‘Charlie’ used to operate it and frightened the living daylights out of us when he emerged from the screen area behind the curtains.

There was also a side door, which led to the boiler house from where the coke fired heating was run to radiators situated down each side of the cinema. These were painted in gold.

The walls of the theatre were finished with “Artex”. When the brickwork got damp the “Artex ” would blow up like a balloon and have to be scraped away and replaced with new plaster.

Seats which had become loose, usually from mistreatment, had to be bolted back down. We did, however find as a bonus, that if you ran a ruler under the seats iron legs we might pick up the odd 2/-d or even 2/6d lodged under there.

The cinema was closed for a week at one point because it was considered a fire risk. The Water Board devised a plan to counteract this hazard. A hole was drilled in the water main then a pipe and valve attached. They were then supplied with a new hose reel which when coupled to the new pipe easily ran the length of the cinema, even extending to the outside. Although there was never a fire, the long hose was very useful for cleaning the front of the cinema.

The Fire Service was then called in to approve the new sprinkler system, which they passed with flying colours.

I remember that one Saturday night the queue was waiting outside ready to go in to the second house when Harry turned up with a crow bar and proceeded to lift the manhole cover adjacent to the fascinated onlookers and produced a set of false teeth. Someone in the first house had been sick and lost their teeth down the toilet!

Once the cinema was overrun with mice. Traps were set upstairs and baited chocolate. Even before we left the cinema we could hear the traps going off one by one. People eating chocolate, crisps had caused the problem, and some viewers took in even bags of chips.

In 1958, We were called in when “Cinemascope” was to be installed in the Regal. Our job was to make ready for the new screen going in which was narrower, all be it three times bigger than the existing one. The front of the old screen had to be taken off first and the area then had to be widened in order for the new screen to be fitted. Contractors were then brought in to fit “Cinemascope”.

We then painted the walls “Daffodil Yellow”

I remember whenever we had to work up in the loft we were always covered in a bright yellow dust, which was due to the nicotine from the cigarette smokers in the days when smoking was allowed during the film.

David Fletcher 2011

From an interview by Brenda Bradley

I recall my father telling me a memory he had of the old Regal cinema when he was a young man just after the first World War.

It was the start of the wireless age, when experiments were still on-going with this new innovation. It got to the point that a nember of young men in  the village were interested in this new experiment, and rigged a listening station up in the projection room of the Regal, (quite illegally), to where they would repair after the cinema was closed for the night, along with the projectionist, making sure no lights were showing and the front doors ere locked.

The young men, along with the projectionist, were up there late one night with their earphones jammed over their ears listening to the test transmissions, when they were frightened out of their wits at a loud voice booming behind them, "nah then lads wot's goin' on up 'ere then"?. On turning round they found no other than the local bobby, (who's name i cannot remember, would it be Bobby Brown?). That worthy scowled at them fiercely and pronounced, "don't tha know it's ellegal to listen in t' experimental radio tests? Ah shud run t'lot of yer in fer it! nah get off ooam afore ah change mi mind and don't do it agen".

Dad says they needed no further urging, quickly removed their gear and bolted out of the cinema. Of course they sorted the projectonist out later, blasting his ears for not making sure he'd locked the doors securely as soon as they were all in. I don't recall if he said anything else about further experiments, but i doubt they stopped and should imagine they were more careful in future, wherever they listened in.



Kiveton Park Cinema as related by Edna Robertshaw (Mallender) who was an usherette at the cinema.

The Regal Cinema closed Easter 1960, the stage was incorporated into The Forge pub.

At the age of 16, Maurice Banks was given the job of stoking the boiler and was paid the princely sum of 12/6d a week, later he worked there as a projectionist.

After the last performance at night his job was to collect the reels of film and take them to a small room at the side of the stage. They were collected at midnight by a van driver who took them to a cinemas at Swallownest, Killamarsh and so on. Then Maurice had to lock up. Other projectionists were Charlie Evans, Colin Lister and Royce Betteridge.

One night while Maurice Banks was still working there he was awoken at home by the village "Bobby", PC Sowerby. Get up there are burglars in the cinema. They both went to the door at the side near Allison's chip shop, now the Chines takeaway. The door was open and PC Sowerby said "I'll stop outside whilst you go in and look around and catch anyone as they run out." Maurice crept inside the dark cinema but there were no intruders. It was a very windy night so they concluded that the wind had blown the door open.

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