Wednesday, 11 May 2016

A forgotten photograph, ............ the Palais de Luxe in 1928

This is as far as I know a forgotten photograph.

It was taken by Charles Ireland in 1928 and has not been seen here in Chorlton for I guess over 80 years.

It is of the old Palais de Luxe cinema on Barlow Moor Road and it is the best and most complete image of that picture house.

Now I wrote about Charles Ireland back on March 8th in the post It started as a picture and became a story,.............Charles Ireland and decided then that I would feature the photograph later in the month.

The Palais de Luxe was opened in 1915 and is very similar to the old Grosvenor picture house opposite All Saints. Both were clad in green and cream tiles and had the same elaborate designs around the windows. And much of this detail is there on my photograph. I say mine it is in fact in the possession of the East Dunbartonshire archive who have kindly given me permission to show it on the blog.

It has rested with them because of the glass and iron canopy which fronted the cinema. This had been made by the Lion Foundry just north of Glasgow and its collection of documents and pictures are now held by the East Dunbartonshire Archive.

I guess Charles Ireland had been commissioned by the foundry to take the picture of their ironwork. He ran the family photographic business on Lower Mosley Street which he had taken over from his father. The family had lived first on St Clements Road and later on the corner of Edge Lane and Kingshill Road and in the early 1920s Charles and his wife Edith had moved into number 76 High Lane.

Charles took the picture sometime at the end of April or right at the beginning of May 1928. I can be fairly sure of the date because all the films listed outside were made between 1927 and 1928 and the billboard to the right of the entrance announced that during the “Week commencing May 7th” the cinema would be showing The Call of the Heart, Long Pants, the Climbers and Sky High Saunders.

It was a mixed bunch of films. The Call of the Heart was a Western featuring Dynamite the dog, Long Pants a comedy with Harry Langdon, The Climbers a historical melodrama located in the Spanish Empire, during the reign of King Ferdinand VII and Sky High Saunders was about a “daredevil pilot who took on all comers and prevailed, whether it was gangsters, good-or-bad women or bad weather.”

Now to modern cinema goers this seems a lot of pictures for just one picture house in just one week. But running times varied, so while Call of the Heart ran for 50 minutes the Harry Langdon movie was under half an hour.

It may be that the William J Rees Orchestra which was playing on the night the photo was taken were there accompanying the films or perhaps giving a separate performance.

I have tracked his career around the northwest during the inter war years and this may have been one of his earlier orchestras.

Not that this is all the picture gives up. It was taken I think in the morning. The sign for the 2.30 matinee has been placed by the entrance and a cleaner is out front making the place ready.

Finally there are the two buildings either side. Both have undergone many changes since 1928. To the left the building was still in private use, but in the subsequent years became a doctor's surgery, cafe, antique shop, and briefly for a few months a You and  Me store. And to the right was the sweet shop which in turn was next to Shaw’s Motor Garage.

I am indebted to Janice Miller the archivist at East Dunbartonshire for kindly providing Charles Ireland’s photograph.

Picture, the Palais de Luxe cinema, circa 1928 GD10-07-04-6-13-01 Courtesy of East Dunbartonshire Archives

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