Wednesday, 16 December 2015

No babes in arms just bug sprays and exciting films ....................... Lydia remembers the Ideal cinema on Queens Road

Now I am back with the Ideal Cinema which stood on Queens Road midway between Pomeroy Street and Kender Street.

The Ideal Cinema 1914-1940
It had opened in 1914 as the Queens’ Cinema House, changed its name a year later to the Queens’s Road Cinema and in 1916 was renamed again as the Ideal Kinema.

Then around 1935 it was bought by Naborhood Theatres Ltd around 1935 and became the  Narborhood Cinema.

And there in its 790 seat theatre audiences could have thrilled to Tom Mix, Charlie Chaplin and been enthralled at the first talkies.

Alas it’s time as the Narborhood were numbered.  It was destroyed by German bombs in 1940 and the remains demolished the following year which I suspect was why I knew nothing of its.

That said there are people who remember attending the place in the 1930s.

One of these is Lydia Bush who told me that "the Ideal Cinema was on the main road, on the left side going towards New Cross, with the pub was on the corner.


Tom Mix, 1925
It was a small cinema with one level, no balcony, I remember on the other side was a small barbers.

I think it may have been privately owned, and based on an American style.

I went to one in the States just like the Ideal , and that really brought back memories.

It changed the film on Thursday, but in those days cinemas didn't open on Sunday.

I remember a sign on the small box office which said 'No babes in arms!'

They came round with a spray occasionally, I used to think it was perfume!

But it was probably bug spray!

I saw many films there, mum was a film fan, I think she must have kept it going.

Hated the walk home though.”

Now that bug spray was not peculiar to the Ideal, and talking to people across the country they not only remembered the practise but singled out certain picture houses as “flea pits” and “bug havens” where you went at your peril.

And likewise many of them continued to refer to the cinema of their choice with names that long ago had been changed .

So for Lydia our cinema will always be the Ideal and in that she was not alone, because maps of the 1930s and 40s still referred to it by its pre 1935 name.  In fact the updated map of the area in 1953 continued to show the cinema which had long ago shown its last film and seen its last bug spray.

So there you have it ............ in the space of a few days the Ideal has offered up more of its story.

All we need now is a picture.

Pictures; the Ideal cinema and Queens Road, 1953 from historical map extract courtesy of Southwark Council at Historical map extract courtesy of Southwark Council at http://maps.southwark.gov.uk/connect/southwark.jsp mapcfg=Historical_Selection&style=historical&banner=historical with mapping provided by Landmark Information Group,  Tom Mix, May 21 1925, Wikipedia Commons, this work has been released into the public domain by its author, Herbert A. French, who grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

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