Thursday, 6 October 2016

More on our last cinema in Chorlton

Now if you grew up in Chorlton anytime before the mid 1980s you will have fond memories of the Rivoli before it became the Essoldo, the Classic and finally the Shalimar.

It was opened in 1937 and our own brass band played at the opening ceremony.

My old friend Alan Brown was there and the icing on the cake was that he got into see Errol Flynn in Captain Blood which was one of his better swashbuckling movies.

During the war it was damaged in the same raid that destroyed houses on Claude Road and did reopen till 1954 when as part of the advertising campaign the manager offered complimentary tickets for the restaurant.
Ida Bradshaw remembers her father receiving tickets and getting off work early to attend.

She tells me it continued to run through the rest of the ‘50s and was popular as a lunch time venue.

I first when there some time in the late 1970s and saw Gone With the Wind with my friend Lois.
And later still in the early 80s a whole clutch of films.

But like most people I never kept anything to remind me of my days of cinema going so I was pleased when Graham posted this from 1979.

I saw Halloween down at the Aaben in Hulme and Monnraker a good decade and half before in Eltham.

The Rivioli had been built to cater for the new Corporation estates which had been going up from the late 1920s.
These were south of the Brook stretching out on either side of Barlow Moor Road and out beyond Mauldeth Road West and the Rivoli was situated perfectly to catch this audience

The frontage was pretty much all glass, with tall windows reaching from the first floor to almost the top of the building.

The box office was in the centre of the auditorium and behind it there was the sweep of stairs which took you up the circle.

Coming down from the stairs you could look out through the great windows with their faded drapes to the Feathers opposite. Not that we ever went there. A night at the “flicks" would still always end in the Trevor.

That said the Aben was a bit special in that it had a bar which apart from some city centre pubs marked it out as a bit different.

It had in 1928 as the York Cinema, and had seating  for 1,414.

During the next thirty years it was operated by different companies and in 1967 went the way of so many picture houses and became a Bingo club.

But this was just for a short while for two years later it reopened with four screens and continued as an in dependant till it finally shut up shop in 1991 and was demolished two years later.*

*Aaben Cinema, from Cinema Treasures, http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/22901

Pictures; Essoldo Cinema m09200 March 1959 R E Stanley, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass
and  programme from the collection of Graham Hill


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