Dawning days of silent movies shown at the Old Gem Picture House are well beyond us. But many recall the Huthwaite Lyric continuing to attract a large excited young audience, when local entertainment similarly could be found for those living in neighbouring Stanton Hill and Kirkby. Here the competition among Sutton-in-Ashfield soon attracted discerning film buffs like my father, by showing latest releases in roomy comfort. Less choice was afforded our generation who spent youngest weekends at the Sutton Savoy. A Mansfield ABC then served dating purposes, plus a few expensive marital nights out prior affording a video recorder.,
Previously known as the Queens, the Tivoli grandly opened its doors on Outram Street on 23rd April 1930. It became widely favoured for the children's Tupp'ny rush. The Free Press reported 1933 improvements to be made, notably adding new systems to control ventilation and heating around plusher seating, that faced an updated gold-tone screen amidst tastefully designed decor. Last film shown at the "Tiv" was in April 1960.
The old King's that first opened October 1905 was capable of seating one thousand, in a large corrugated structure fondly nicknamed "The Old Tin Tabernacle". Demolished 1931, to be replaced by a still familiar building that ceremoniously reopened a new King's Theatre in March 1932. The Tiv's junior club was transferred here, until that too closed on 27th May 1967. After being adopted as a Bingo Hall the converted building still serves JD Wetherspoon's pub restaurant, offering historic recognition by renaming The Picture House.
Press announced this sketched venue March 1935, although a two year delay finds opening ceremony on Monday 22nd February 1937. The Portland took over the King's kids club, who saw 1968 renaming a year later given the Savoy cinema. The Drifters starred amongst the last 1978 stage show, although films lasted until the final picture dated on 2nd September.. This Forest Street property stood opposite The Crown and Woolpack, made way shops below Halfords car park.
Earliest Mansfield cinemas may not have attracted much Huthwaite attention, but did include a regularly advertised Hippodrome, built in 1906 as a Music Hall sited upon Midworth Street. Refurbishments updated big screen advancements to become part of Granada Theatres chain and then renamed Century Cinema in September 1955. This second release cinema to the former Plaza closed May 1961. Converted into, nextly extending, what is lastly named the Gala Bingo Hall.
Again regularly advertised was the Mansfield Plaza which opened 1930 with luxury seating for over 5000. It changed name to Granada in 1942, and reopened 1954 with modernisation including a wide screen plus surround sound. Any visitors from Huthwaite may well, however, have been primarily interested in live performances given by some of the major rock'n roll star bands hosted by the Granada throughout the 1960's. This building on Westgate finally closed in 1973, to be demolished that May. Further history can be found on the website Our Mansfield and Area
The Grand Theatre opened 1906 with a deep stage all designed to suit era of live theatre. A 1963 renaming reflected new owners some thirty years after being acquired by Associated British Cinemas. Choice of triple screens introduced in 1978 transformed Mansfield ABC into one of the most modern entertainment centres favoured from Huthwaite. Opening a much larger multiplex nearby left behind this Leeming Street building for 1997 closure. Adopted since by Rileys Snooker Club, there are suggestions for future screenings.
Accompanying my own two young children to see release of Jurassic Park at the above represents last of ever rarer cinema visits. Recommendations are heard however about the futurist facilities provided at the Mansfield Odeon, so I may soon just chance treating myself to latest efforts in big screen entertainment.
Written 31 Aug 13 Revised 31 Aug 13 © by Gary Elliott