Friday, 31 March 2017

Going to the “flicks" on Longford Road in Chorlton in 1913

Now as a story it is less a detailed and comprehensive piece of history and more just another tantalising clue to how we enjoyed ourselves in 1913.

The Skating Rink and Pucturedrome, 1946 from 1906
Back then the cinema was still in its infancy but that said already from Didsbury down to Withington and across to Whalley Range there were picture houses.

Some like the one on Elm Grove in Didsbury were pretty small fry.

It was called the Bijou Electric Theatre and could accommodate 350 but still bigger than the Manley Park Palace on Clarendon Road which could seat just 200 customers.

Advert, 1914
For those wanting a bigger cinema locally there was only the Chorlton Pavilion on Wilbraham Road which could hold an audience of 800.  It had been operating as a Variety Hall from the early 20th century and was the best you could get in Chorlton-cum-Hardy in 1913.

Or so I thought, because just a few minute’s walk away was the Longford Picturedrome, on the corner of Longford and Oswald Road.

It was a place that has slowly crept into my knowledge.

It  first came to my attention when I came across a painting by J Montgomery who painted the place in 1946 from a photograph dated 1906

He referred to it as “Chorlton Skating Rink (later the Picturedrome”.

There is a reference to as the Chorlton Skating Rink when it was wound up as a company in 1916, but I have always been fascinated by the Montgomery’s use of Picturedrome.

And now I am a little closer to adding a bit more to the story.

In 1914 it is listed as the Longford Picturedrome seating 600 and its proprietor was a James Morland.

Sadly that is all we have and the listing did manage to substitute Street for road in the address.

There was a Mr Moreland living in Old Trafford just a few years earlier but that is it.

As to why it closed I have yet to find out.

It may be the competition with its close rival proved too much, or the Great War finished it off.

That said I am confident that we will find the answer in time.

Location Chorlton

Picture; “Chorlton Skating Rink (later the Picturedrome” J Montgomery, 1946 m80132, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, and advert from The Kinematograph Year Book, 1914 page 43

*The Kinematograph Year Book Program Diary and Directory 1914

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