|Cinema , TV & Personalities From The Levenshulme Area.
The above photo shows the ABC Regal in the late 1950s. The other photo was taken in the foyer of The Regal, and shows my Mother-in-law Joyce Arnold with one of the doormen/ushers. The Regal, opened in 1937, was quite a "grand" cinema, with a large foyer, mezzanine balcony & a huge auditorium which probably seated over 1000 patrons. It closed in 1961 and was converted into a two level ten-pin bowling alley. 24 lanes I think!! Later it became a Bingo Hall and a Cash And Carry Warehouse. Its latest incarnation is as an Indian Restaurant! Update:- Sadly, my mother-in -law Joyce Sutherland passed away in September 2010 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, at the age of 84 years.
I will eventually be posting pictures of the four other Levenshulme cinemas, namely, The Grand, Palace, Arcadia & Kingsway. Also some history regarding these cinemas. Does anyone out there have any photos taken in or outside these picture houses, or any old programmes, lobby cards, memories etc. Remember the ABC Minors Saturday matinees?
Levenshulme & Longsight Cinema Programmes March 17th 1961 ( From the Manchester Evening News)
The above clipping from the Manchester Evening News shows which cinemas were still operating in March 1961. I remember going to see "Village of the Damned" with my Dad. Quite a scary movie for an 11 year old!!
British and French posters of "Village Of The Damned" 1960.
A still from the film "Village Of The Damned" 1960.
Dorothy Bromiley See Below " A Letter From Dorothy Bromiley
Does anyone remember Dorothy Bromiley? She lived on Delamere Road, went to Chapel Street School in the 1940's.Had some success on Stage & Screen. Was married to film director Joseph Losey for a time. What happened to her & is she still living?
Above photograph shows Dorothy Bromiley in the late 1950's.
Dorothy Bromileys Autograph & early photograph.
A nice autographed photo of Dorothy Bromiley From the autograph collection of Helen Kowalczyk. Helen was a movie fan who amassed a huge collection of autographed photos of Hollywood stars, some of whom she met personally. I do not know what happened to Helen, but 400 of her photos were found at an auction. The whole box cost the buyer $2!!
The above still is from the film" It's Great To Be Young", made in 1956. Dorothy Bromiley starred in this film and is seen on the left side of this photograph. ( photo via Bert Baker)
Dorothy Bromiley sings "You Are My First Love" From "It's Great To Be Young" (1956) Her voice was dubbed by the singer Edna Savage. ( Via Britmusical website)
Above two interesting images of Dorothy Bromiley. The first shows a posed still from "It's Great To Be Young". The second shows a German magazine or poster rendition of the same pose. "Wie Herrlich Jung Zu Sein" must be the German Translation of the title.
This signed promotional card was found on Ebay. These cards were often given away at ABC cinemas. Dorothy may have signed this while on a promotional tour for the film. ( via Ebay)
The Girls Of Pleasure Island ( 1953)
Two staged publicity shots from " The Girls Of Pleasure Island ( 1953). The girl at the end in the first photo is Dorothy Bromiley. Bert Baker states that from the money earned on this film, Dorothy bought a Buick automobile! The film was made in Hollywood, probably Dorothy's only US made movie. The pictures were found on the Gene Barry Fan Site. Gene Barry was in this film, and appears in both of the above pictures.
All the above posters & stills are from the US release of the film " The Girls Of Pleasure Island ", and feature Dorothy Bromiley. ( Courtesy of The Gene Barry Fan Pages) I have also obtained a rare video copy of " The Girls Of Pleasure Island". Although the film is very dated, Dorothy's talent is very obvious as Gloria the youngest daughter of the three girls. She plays a sixteen year old very well considering she was 22 years old at the time!!
The above stills from "The Girls Of Pleasure Island were recently found on the Internet. Interestingly they show the title as "Pleasure Island" ( via MovieGoods website)
This photo shows the three British Girls having some fun with Don Murray. Dorothy Bromiley is feeding Don cake! ( via MovieGoods website)
The Girls Of Pleasure Island Go "Hollywood"
Audrey Dalton, Joan Elan and Dorothy Bromiley at the famous gates of Paramount Studios. ( via MovieGoods)
The girls at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Notice the Fish and Chips sign! ( Via MovieGoods)
The girls comparing notes at Paramount Studios. ( via MovieGoods)
An interesting document found on the Internet showing Dorothy Bromileys application for membership in the "American Federation Of Radio Artists", dated January 18th 1953. It shows her address and phone number and is signed Dorothy A Bromiley. What was Dorothys middle name?
Its Great To Be Young (1956)
Film Poster from " Its Great To Be Young". Dorothy Bromileys name appears at the bottom of the poster. Note the box showing Ruby Murray as singing the hit song from the film " You Are My First Love" which got to No 1 in the Hit Parade of 1956. A correspondent believes that Dorothys singing voice was dubbed by a singer called Edna Savage, who also had a No 1 hit in 1956 with " Arrivederci Darling". Question? Whatever happened to the actor Jeremy Spenser. He was quite well known in films up to "Fahrenheit 451" in 1966. Then he disappeared off the radar!
A Spanish poster for " It's Great To Be Young" with several photos of Dorothy Bromiley, and her name featured prominently .
A French Poster for "Its Great To Be Young" This is a French or Flemish poster! Note the different title!!
"Les Enfants Du Jazz" translated as " Those Jazz Children"
Several colour stills from the film. The first one is a German still showing the title as "Wie Herrlich Jung Zu Sein"
A different British Poster. Slightly "tatty"!
A "Campaign Sheet" for the film. These were used by local newspapers etc. to publicize the film.
Small Hotel ( 1957)
Posters from " Small Hotel" (1957). Dorothy appeared in this obscure British comedy, along with a young Janet Munro. Janet Munro is featured on the first poster. The second poster is probably a US release item. ( Courtesy Liam Byrne Janet Munro Web Site.
A Touch Of The Sun
Poster from "A Touch Of The Sun" starring Frankie Howerd and featuring Dorothy Bromiley. The photo of Dorothy Bromiley and Frankie Howerd was found on Getty Images.
Film Biography of Dorothy Bromiley
Date of Birth 18 September 1930
Girls of Pleasure Island (1953) USA
It's Great To Be Young (1956)UK
A Touch Of The Sun (1956) UK
Small Hotel (1957)UK
The Criminal (1960) UK Joseph Losey
The Servant (1963) UK Joseph Losey
Zoo Baby (1964) UK
Dorothy Bromiley also appeared on TV, in such series as "Robin Hood" in the 1950s & as late as 1979 in " A Family Affair". Bert Baker, who supplied the film still was acquainted with Dorothy in the early 1950s, and remembers her going to Hollywood.. Dorothy went to Levenshulme High School, which is where her acting talent was first noted.
New!! A Letter From Dorothy Bromiley November 2004
A recent visitor to the site contacted me seeking more information on Dorothy Bromiley. He had been a fan of her films during the fifties! After some research he came back to me with a lead on her possible whereabouts. The lead indicated that she was the author of a book on the history of antique needlework. I e-mailed her publisher who replied saying that she would probably be delighted to hear from me. I wrote a letter asking for some details on her acting career, and was thrilled to receive a reply from her in November. I am printing the contents of the letter as follows:-
"Since you ask, I was born on 18 September 1930 at the Manchester Royal Infirmary. The only child of Frank Bromiley and Ada Winifred, nee Thornton. I began at Chapel Street Elementary school in 1934, leaving in 1941 on a scholarship to attend Levenshulme High. I became Joint Deputy Head Girl in my final year and gained Higher School Certificate in 1949.
With a stage career in mind I went straight on to the Central School of Speech and Drama in the Royal Albert Hall, London; graduating with a Diploma in Dramatic Art. I left early, in March 1952 having auditioned with 900 girls and screen -tested with nine, and was taken to Hollywood on a seven-year contract with Paramount Studios, to feature with two other English actresses, in " the Girls of Pleasure Island", starring Leo Genn And Elsa Lanchester.
I returned to England in May 1954 and went immediately to work as an Assistant Stage Manager at The Central Library Theatre, Manchester ( much to the disgust of my agents MCA. Ltd) From there , after about two months, I was called to London to audition for E.P. Clift Management in a play entitled " The Wooden Dish", by Edmund Morris, starring Wilfred Lawson and Joan Miller. ( SEE BELOW*) Directed by the American exile Joseph Losey whom I subsequently married on 16 June 1956. Joe was blacklisted. Our son Joshua was born in 1957. He is married to Karen Dobson, living in Bristol. They have two daughters Natalie and Naomi. I am still close to Joe's elder son Gavrik who lives in Somerset, with his second family. Joe and I were divorced in 1963.
Since then I have lived with the Dublin-born writer Brian Phelan. I changed my name by Deed Poll in 1966. Brian And I have a daughter Kate, who was born in 1967. Kate is married to a Frenchman, Nicolas Grosjean, and they have two sons, Thomas, my eldest grandchild and Hugo. They all live in France.
I remained an actress until 1972, appearing in several films: including " It's Great To Be Young" (1957) starring John Mills and Jeremy Spenser, directed by Cyril Frankel. I sang " You Are My First Love" dubbed by Rose Wax.* I also featured in " A Touch Of The Sun" starring Frankie Howard ( in !956) and "The Servant" adapted by Harold Pinter, and directed by Joseph Losey. I made the cover of Life Magazine (SEE BELOW*) and Picture Post in company with Audrey Dalton and Joan Elan; and was interviewed, among many others, on " In Town Tonight".
My first TV role was in a play directed by Peter Brook, starring Paul Schofield and Leo Mckern in 1960, and for the life of me I cannot recall its title. It was about a plane crash or hijack. My last role was as the wife in " Fathers and Families" for BBC TV, starring Dinsdale Landen, directed by Christopher Morahan. Many other parts in both plays and series intervened. I began teaching at the London Academy of Dramatic Art in 1966 and was there until practically the entire teaching staff resigned in 1972, to create a co-operative called " The Common Stock Theatre Company", to mount relevant theatre. We improvised plays on themes suggested by London teenagers in Youth Clubs And State schools; subsequently playing to audiences not in the habit of going to the Theatre. I administrated that company and left to spend one year in Dorset in 1976, to recover from frequent battles with the Arts Council of GB over funding. Brian and I still live here.
I began a specialist needlework shop with Elizabeth Bradley in early 1982 (until 1995 or 6) called " The Sherbourne Tapestry Centre" and during the course of running that found my second calling which is a profound and happy interest in antique needlework, specializing in the 16th and 17th century amateur domestic work. I have written books and articles on the subject, and curated two major exhibitions, " The Needles Excellency" for the Holburne Museum, Bath 2001 and " The Point of the Needle" in 2003/4 for the Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, which was the most successful exhibition ever mounted by that institution in over a hundred years. I was interviewed by BBC Woman's Hour talking about the Dorchester exhibition, and they divided the tape into three programme items over a three-week period.
Currently I am researching the artists, engravers, print-makers and print-sellers who contributed to the designs available to the early amateur domestic and professional embroiderers, and those other craftsmen and omen relevant to the needlework trade.
My father died in 1975 and my mother, who came to live in Dorset, died at the age of ninety-one in 1991. I was interested in the specificity of your web sit, " Levenshulme". I have always considered myself, and am immensely proud of being a Mancunian. Manchester is where I consider I come from and where my roots are- Levenshulme perhaps is an area a fraction too parochial for me? Indeed I regret that I no longer have a reason to " Go Home". I did go back in the late 1990s to attend a seminar at the University, and was driven up Delamere Road, but part of me regretted it, as I was so appalled at how run-down it all seemed. I have very happy childhood memories of living there on the whole. I hope you find yourself as happy in your exile as I am in mine.
Will this do? Use whatever you think fit.
Yours sincerely, Dorothy Bromiley Phelan. "
I have emailed Dorothy and thanked her for her very interesting and detailed letter. I hope that she may answer some further questions that I posed for her.
* Dorothys singing voice was dubbed by the Irish singer Ruby Murray. Was her real name Rose Wax? Update:- Several sources state that Dorothy was dubbed by the singer Edna Savage!
The Film Director Joseph Losey whom Dorothy was married to from 1956 to 1963. Dorothy had minor supporting roles in two of Losey's films, "The Criminal" and " The Servant"
These are the two Joseph Losey films in which Dorothy Bromiley had small parts. "The Concrete Jungle" was the American title of "The Criminal". Dorothy played a chatty girl called Angela in a cafe scene. In "The Servant" Dorothy played the annoying girl in the phone box scene with Dirk Bogarde. Dirk playing the manservant Barratt tells Dorothy to:- " Get out of my way you bitch!" Pretty tough talk for a film made in 1963.
An American poster from "Accident"
Two interesting photos relating to Dorothy Bromileys letter. The First shows the cover of Life Magazine, 28th July 1952 featuring the three British actresses from " The Girls of Pleasure Island" Audrey Dalton, Dorothy Bromiley & Joan Elan. The other two actresses remained in the USA and had moderate success in films & TV. The Second photo is the cover of the programme for " The Wooden Dish", in which Dorothy had a part and where she met Joseph Losey.
More Life Magazine Photos
I have recently obtained a copy of the Life magazine featuring the photo session that Dorothy and the two other actresses/ starlets undertook. Here are the complete set of photos.
Dorothy Bromiley Phelan- Author
As Dorothy mentioned in her letter she has also authored several books on needlework and embroidery. The first image below is the cover of " The Point of the Needle". The second image is the cover of the book "The Goodhart Samplers" on which Dorothy was a co-author, note Bromiley Phelan.
For some years Dorothy Bromiley Phelan operated a needlework business, with a friend, from this property in Sherbourne, Dorset. The business still exists. A far cry from Delamere Road, Levenshulme!!
Apparently Arthur Lowe, of 'Dads Army" fame also went to Chapel Street School for a time. Where did he live in Levenshulme?
Arthur Lowe in his most memorable role as Captain Mainwaring, Dads Army BBC 1970's Comedy.
This photo of Arthur Lowe was taken at the Hayfield Cricket Club grounds. I am not sure of the date, but probably 1970s. Arthur Lowe's father was chairman of the club at one time and Arthur was a lifetime cricket fan. Apparently he sometimes brought members of the Dads Army cast to play cricket at Hayfield C.C.
I was contacted by Colin Sharples, with some history on Arthur Lowe. Apparently Arthur lived at 112 Hemmons Road, Longsight for four or five years starting around 1916. Arthur's father was a clerk with the LNWR railway, probably at Albert Road/ Levenshulme North station. The family later moved to Hayfield, where Arthur spent most of his youth
Two photos of Hemmons Road taken in the 1960s. I could not see any numbers on the houses, but this appears to be the north end of the road where the higher numbers would be. Arthur Lowe probably lived in one of these houses! Is there a " Blue Plaque" to commemorate this fact? ( Manchester Libraries)
Joe Silmon. A Well Known Levenshulme Musical Talent
Joe Silmon is a local musician, currently living in Longsight, who I was acquainted with briefly in the 1970s. Joe lived with his family in Levenshulme during the 1950s-1970s. Although born in England, Joe spent part of his early years in Cartagena, Spain. He has recently published a history of a distant relative, the Earl St. Maur. Joe also held the world record for playing a flute under water! This was achieved by playing onboard a submerged British submarine!! I believe that Joe was very well know in local jazz music circles, and played with many local bands and also around the country.
Joe Silmon playing the flute for 48 hours "under water", onboard HMS Grampus, February 18th-20th 1977. This earned him an entry in the Guinness Book Of World Records.( via Joe Silmon)
Joe Silmon, in red shirt, playing saxophone at Tommy Ducks pub, Manchester in 1986.
Joe Silmon, photo taken by 18th Duchess of Somerset, at Bradley House, Wiltshire,1995. Joe was doing research on his ancestors. Joe states that the mirror on the sideboard was with Mary Queen of Scots in the Tower of London!! (via Joe Silmon)
Roy Chappell, a local Celebrity
Roy Chappell is a well known personality, known for his singing & musical talents. He also used to run a motorcycle business on Barlow Road, and he rode for the motor cycle speedway "Belle Vue Aces". Roy is still performing to this day. He has a great affection for the late Bing Crosby, and met his idol at one time.
Publicity photos of Roy Chappell.
Tony Fisher. A Celebrated Musician born in Levenshulme
The above images show Tony Fisher at the start of his career. Tony was discovered at the age of 14, and went "on the road", never living in Levenshulme again!!
I recently received an Email from Tony Fisher who was born in Levenshulme in 1936. It transpires that Tony has had a very successful career as a jazz trumpeter and session musician, playing with some of the top vocalists and musicians in the world. I will let Tony tell his story in his own words:-
"Very briefly - the details of my life in Levenshulme are as follows - in fact I only spent a short time of my life there as you will see - I left to go on tour with the Levis show around 1950 and as events turned out never returned to live in Levenshulme, although when I got married in 1956 ( my late wife Eileen was from Longsight - Elgar Street) -we took up residence there for a while before moving down to London.
Went to St Mary's school in Clare Road until passing my 11 plus exam to go to St Bedes College in Alexandra Park - (I have a few pics of that time that people sent to me when I returned to Manchester fairly recently doing a concert at the Bridgewater Hall as leader of the Bert Kaempfert Orchestra - there was a big article about me in the Manchester Evening News and people that saw it and were at school with me contacted me) - joined the LMS railway brass band at the instigation of my father - we used to rehearse at the old London Road station which became Piccadilly - then was in a small local dance band formed of my sister Doreen on piano - (she still lives down here in the south in Essex) - and her late husband John Booth - (they also owned the paper shop next door to the Grand Cinema on Stockport Road). soon after that in about 1950 I became a "Carroll Levis Discovery" - that name may jog a few memories of the variety days of the theatre - joined at the Manchester Hippodrome on Ardwick Green - toured the country for the next few years then did my National Service in the RAF(1954-56), so really my actual living period in Levenshulme was from 1936 to 1950. All the rest of my career you have obviously seen on my website - and it is still going on I am glad to say!
Back to the Levenshulme memories - I used to catch the 35 tram with my dad to our brass band rehearsals at London Road Station..... I also used to catch the local train from Levenshulme South railway station - directly opposite my house of course - to go to St Bedes - when we got married we had the reception in the hall over the Co-op just opposite the top of Station Road....the neighbours I remember are - Wilsons next door ( the end house of Station Road) - the Sharples next door the other side - Faulkners further along and my old pal that I played with most times - Charlie Butterworth - he lived at number 8 I think - he later owned the paper shop on Stockport Road opposite the end of Station Road.....another couple of kids were Maureen and Bobby Noble who actually lived in Gordon Avenue - Maureen was one of the people that contacted me after the concert at the Bridgewater Hall - sadly to tell me that they were put into cre and Bobby passed away many years ago....another vivid memory is my dad - who was a fire warden during the war - coming to get me out of an air raid shelter at the bottom of our garden to show me a German plane coming down in flames during the Blitz on Manchester in 1941....all very exciting stuff for a kid of 5 years old! I also remember our cat getting hit with a piece of shrapnel and found bleeding from the head just outside our house...The sound of the ack ack guns on Mellons fields ( Mellands Playing Fields) just a short distance away...a favourite playtime for me was going on the "brickie" - just across Broom Lane and finding all kinds of devilment to get up to there..."
Note:- It is interesting to hear Tony's memory of the wartime Blitz. Several correspondents have mentioned crashed or crashing aircraft during this period in the Levenshulme area. In fact there are no records of any aircraft being shot down over Manchester during the 1940-41 Blitz!! People have also recalled seeing German airplanes flying low and machine gunning streets and houses. Again no evidence of this!! Most German bombers flew at high altitudes to avoid the Anti-aircraft guns( ack-ack), and the German fighters did not have the range to penetrate the skies over the North West of England. This is for the most part "urban legend", but I feel that there must be a grain of truth in the sightings!! If anyone has any substantial proof of aircraft crashes in Levenshulme, from any period, I would like to hear about it.
Pictures from Tony Fishers Scrapbook
Tony Fisher is now leader of the world famous Bert Kaempfert Orchestra. Tony also played and recorded with the original orchestra. The late Bert Kaempfert in dotted shirt, Tony in white polo neck.
1)Bing Crosby & Fred Astaire, Tony in background on trumpet. 2) Tony and Bing Crosby.
Tony Fisher fronting the Eric Delaney Jazz Band. Dig those crazy pink suits, Man!!
All the photos are with the kind permission of Tony Fisher. Visit Tony's
Hell Is A City, a film with a Levenshulme connection! See The " Hell Is A City File" for much more on this movie!!
April 1960,The World Premiere of "Hell is a City". This film was a gritty "film noir" crime drama set in Manchester.The principal location filming was done in Manchester between September & November 1959. Parts of the film were shot in Levenshulme. A large house on the corner of Milwain Road & Errwood Road was used as a principal location for the character played by Donald Pleasance. The house is called Errwood House, and still exists. I remember watching one evening when they were filming Mr. Pleasance arriving in a taxi. That sequence is in the film! Stanley Baker, Billie Whitelaw & other actors also filmed at this location. The film is now available on DVD in North America. Not sure if it's available in the UK. Seek this film out as it's a piece of Levenshulme history!! (If anyone has any photos taken on location of this film I would love to post them on this site.) See my separate page "The Hell Is A City File" for more on this fascinating movie, and recent photographs of Errwood House.
Levenshulme Cinemas. A Brief History
The ABC Regal Built 1937. A large Super Cinema., situated in South Levenshulme, on Stockport Road. Closed in 1961, last film shown was "Saturday Night & Sunday Morning" Converted to a Ten Pin bowling alley. Was a bingo hall & much later a cash & carry warehouse. The building still exists & is now an Indian restaurant.
The ABC Regal 1959, a couple of years before it became a Bowling Alley. Note the shop on the corner was a Driving School at this time. ( Photo. Manchester Libraries)
This is the cover of the souvenir brochure issued for the opening of the Regal Cinema in 1937 ( via Ebay)
The Regal 1961/62 by this time it was operating as a 24 lane Ten Pin Bowling Alley. How long did it remain a bowling alley?
Almost the same aspect as the previous view. December 2007
Some interior photos of the Nawaab Indian Restaurant. The entrance foyer has retained the original look of the Regal cinema in many ways. Also the " Bollywood" theme is a very tasteful nod to the buildings former use as a cinema. The chandelier rose in the ceiling looks like it could be an original feature.
A recent photo of the fabulous buffet counter at the Nawaab Restaurant.
A familiar item at the Regal ticket kiosk was the monthly ABC Film Review, essential reading for the film fan and now a highly collectable item. This issue dates from November 1951.
The Regal Building, February 2004, now reborn as "The Nawaab" Indian Restaurant & Banqueting Rooms. Reputed to be one of the largest Indian Restaurants in the UK. Compare this picture to the one at the top of the page. The Regency Barbers, once on the corner of the cinema building, is now located at 1010 Stockport Road. This was once occupied by the notorious Ten Ten Coffee Bar, haunt of 1960s bikers!
This rather grainy colour photo shows the Regal building in the 1970s, when it was a Mecca Bingo Hall. Very brash & flash in its bingo incarnation!
This photo, probably from the 1990s, shows the Regal building when it was used as a Cash & Carry warehouse. How this building has changed with the times!
The Grand Built 1913.Closed 1957. Situated on Stockport Road, opposite Alma Road. The building still exists, and is a fine example of early cinema architecture. it was converted into St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in 1958, and was also an antique furniture store. It should have had a preservation order placed on it, as early cinema buildings are now quite rare!
This is a nice photo of the Grand Cinema in the 1950s. Showing a Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis movie called "Pardners" made in 1956. Note Meeson's sweet shop where Tony's barbers still exists. Also Kiddyfair, and just visible to the right The Herbalist shop.
The Grand in 1959, after it had been converted into St. Marys Roman Catholic Church. Note also the herbalist shop and the butchers to the right. ( Manchester Libraries).
This view of The Grand shows it in use as a furniture showroom. What a pity that the frontage could not have been saved and incorporated into some new development.
Two views of the Grand Cinema Building. 1) The Grand 1970s as an antique store. 2) February 2004 in the course of renovation or demolition? Could someone bring me up to date on what is happening here? The shops to the south side are gone! Do you remember "The Herbalist"?
Well this is the sad end to a very unique Levenshulme cinema!! This is how the site still remains in December 2007. There are still visible signs of The Grands' use as a cinema. ( Images via Andrew Barber)
December 2007. Looking like a "bomb site", Tonys barbers still going strong. What is the future plan for this site?
The photo above was taken in 1922, outside No 4 Alma Road, and shows Jack Barber & his sister Edith in their pram. Interestingly, the view in the background shows the Grand Cinema in all its glory. I wonder what film was being shown? Compare to the views above.
This photo shows the interior of the Grand Cinema after it had been converted to St Mary's Catholic Church in 1958. How much of the cinema remains in this image? Possibly the columns! ( Manchester Libraries)
The Palace, aka The Farmside Built 1911. Closed 1983.Located in Farmside Place. Levenshulmes longest serving cinema. The building still exists & is now a nightclub called "The Palace". It still had gas lighting in the 1960's!!
Farmside Place and the Palace Cinema. The Palace looks quite smart at this time. I cannot make out the film that was playing. This photo was taken by Timpson Shoe shops for their archive. It also shows the edge of Burdetts Bakery, The Maypole Grocers and Nuttall's Butchers. The other shop was a photographers I think! Note that Stockport Road was still cobbled and the Tram tracks are still in place.( via Timpson Archives)
A photo of the window display at the Maypole Dairy, Levenshulme. Note all the Maypole produce! A long lost art!! (via Brian Carter)
The Palace building as it now looks in 2004. In the 50s & 60s most of this building was hidden by other properties, which have since been demolished. The building now stands alone!! The building is architecturally unremarkable, but the memories of this place are indelible!! Read on.............
A Palace memory by Andrew Barber...."One memory of my own for you. My brother ( four years older) used to take me on foot from 2 Broom Lane to the Palace Cinema (the bug hut) for the Saturday morning B movies that they used to show kids in those days (black & white cowboy films etc.) A lot went on that shouldn't, not least the random throwing of ice creams when the lights went down.
Came the day when the Barber family got dressed up and went to the Cinema in an evening, (it might have been "In Search of the Castaways") along with the genteel audience that you might expect. Every thing went well until the lights went down when I , who knew all about going to the cinema, started to whistle and shout like a goodun! Mum went ballistic. I am only thankful that I didn't have an ice cream! " How many of us from that era can relate to similar incidents? Thanks for the memory, Andrew. ( See further down for Saturday Matinees & The ABC Minors)
The above photos appeared in the Manchester Evening News in 2003, and show Farmside Place in !977 & 2003.Note the Levenshulme Market situated in the old bakery premises. The film being shown at The Palace is Walt Disneys "The Aristocats"! ( Photo MEN via Cliff Garatt)
The Palace Cinema towards the end of its cinema life, showing " The Slipper And The Rose" ( Manchester Libraries)
The above two photos were taken in the 1950s & 1960s. The first shows the Palace in the 1950s, the film being shown is "Run For The Sun" starring Richard Widmark & Trevor Howard. The second from the 1960s has the Hitchcock film "Topaz" showing. (Photos via B R Robinson)
December 2007. Once again a change of name and use for the old " Palace" It is now an Asian restaurant and banqueting hall. This very much symbolizes the ethnic and cultural diversity of Levenshulme in 2007.
I found these three photos of the Palace cinema on the Internet. Probably taken in the late 80s or early 90s, they show the dilapidated state of the building at that time. Note scaffolding 0n the side of the building. It would appear these photos were taken at different times, there is no scaffolding apparent in the third photo.
The Last Film to be shown at the Palace Cinema!
I recently received a communication from Seth Gadman claiming that the last film to be shown at the Palace Cinema was "ET. The Extra Terrestrial" in 1984. Can anyone substantiate this claim? Seth states that he was 5 years old at the time, and was told by his father that this was the last film to be shown before the cinema closed.
The Arcadia Cinema
The Arcadia Cinema.Built in 1912. Closed 1958. A small cinema, originally built as a skating rink. The Arcadia mainly showed "B' films, and was known as a "second -run" cinema. It also sometimes featured foreign language films. Very "avant-garde" for Levenshulme! It eventually became Ian Yates cash & carry warehouse, and had other uses after they moved to Heaton Chapel. The building still exists as a sports centre. Charlie Chaplin took part in a Hockey Match there, while appearing with the Fred Karno troupe at the Kings Theatre in Longsight. Perhaps that is where he got the idea for "The Rink", one of his early Hollywood features!
This is a nice early photo of the Arcadia Roller Rink. Looking very new and well kept. The area had certainly gone "off the boil" by the 1950s! What was behind the fenced area? It was just a dusty wasteland when I was a kid! ( via Ebay)
Some great Then & Now views of the Arcadia much as I remember it in the 1950s. Just look at the rounded roof & the painted walls. It always looked "kind of Mexican" to me! Like I would know Mexican architecture as a child! The above view is probably from the 1940s, and probably pre-dates the lower view.
A really nice comparison, the sign on the roof has disappeared, this could be early 1950s. The colour photo shows the same view in 2000. Note the roof has been altered & the building has all but lost its original character!! ( All above photos via Kathy Richardson ).
The building that was once The Arcadia, as it looks in March 2004. Now a Sports Centre, it has had some recent landscaping & upgrading. I remember the building being painted a white or cream colour in the 1950s! The above black & white photos confirm that fact.( Photo Andrew Barber)
Yet another makeover for the old " Arcadia" building. The colour somewhat retuning to its 1950s look! December 2007.
An early autumn photo of the Arcadia building. Once again a new colour!
A couple of interesting notices referring to the Arcadia. First is a notice of liquidation for the Skating Rink in 1914, second is the sale notice from 1948, including the Arcadia and many other properties in the immediate area. Interesting to read the reference to the Talking Machine!! (via Kathy Richardson, whose grandparents once owned The Arcadia ).
A poster for an ice hockey match at the Arcadia. Note the name of Charlie Chaplin on the Fred Karno's Team ( via Brian Carter)
An interesting view of the Arcadia building. Probably taken in the 1960s before it became Ian Yates Cash & Carry warehouse. ( via Manchester Libraries)
Kingsway Picture House/Super Cinema Built 1929.Closed 1957/59? This Grand building stood on the corner of Moseley Road & Kingsway. It was one of the first Super Cinemas & even had a covered verandah for queuing patrons. It may have closed due to a fire in 1957. This was a common occurrence in cinemas. Both the Regal & Palace suffered fires in the 1950's due to careless patrons leaving lighted cigarettes behind. The building ceased to be a cinema in 1959 when its license was cancelled. It was used for a time as a storage facility by ABC Cinemas. The building was demolished in the early 1970's & a new office block was built on the site.
The Kingsway Picture House 1930s. Note verandah at the side. I only remember seeing one film at this cinema. It was "Carousel" .
Another view of the Kingsway Cinema & the Hotel, probably pre-war.
A great photo of The Kingsway Picture House, showing its Art Deco Frontage. Probably taken in the 1930s
The rows of shops at the Levenshulme end of Kingsway, March 2004. The Kingsway Picture House was situated at the far end of this row, right on the corner of Moseley Road. I used to work for the Prudential Assurance until moving to Canada, and their office was in this row of shops. ( Photo. Carole Daniels ).
A similar view of the shops on Kingsway, prior to 1949.
The Kingsway Hotel. Probably the largest pub in South Manchester. A steak house since the early 70s. It was directly opposite The Kingsway Picture House. March 2004 ( Photo Carole Daniels ).
Late 1940s photograph of a tramcar opposite the Kingsway Hotel, and close to the Kingsway Cinema. Note the hotel is called the "New Kingsway Hotel"! Was there a previous hotel on this site? Notice that the trams run on a central median. This is why there is a central grass median in the middle of Kingsway, as the tram tracks continued from here to Parrs Wood, Didsbury.
Some of the above information comes from a limited edition pamphlet titled "Ninety Years of Cinema in Manchester" Written & Published by Brian Hornsey in 1998. I have No.70 of the 100 copies printed.
The Savoy Picture Hall This cinema is known to have existed in Levenshulme between 1913 & 1921. I have never heard of it previously, and have no knowledge as to where it was located. Has anyone ever heard of its existence? I would be interested to hear more on this "lost" Levenshulme cinema, with a photo if possible.
It is quite interesting to observe that although cinema-going declined rapidly in the late 1950's, mainly due to increasing TV viewing, the legacy of Levenshulme cinemas still remain. At least three of the original buildings still exist, albeit no longer in use as cinemas.
Collecting Film Posters. Brian Carter & Me!
During the years 1963-65, my friend Brian Carter & I had a passion for the cinema. We took it one stage further by collecting film posters & memorabilia. At that time poster collecting was almost unheard of, and most people, including my parents, thought that we were crazy! We would spend most Saturday afternoons going around all the major cinemas in Central Manchester asking for "old film posters". After a while the doormen got used to us & they would save the posters. I ended up with about 150 full sized posters, and some stills & smaller posters. Brian probably had more than that! Sadly after I got married my Mum disposed of most of the posters in the dustbin! I did, however, manage to hang on to some of the smaller stuff. The images below are from my collection. If anyone out there knows the whereabouts of Brian Carter, he used to live in the pre-fabs on Broom Lane, I would love to get in touch with him!
Strangely, we never got any posters from The Palace Cinema! We did get them from The Burnage Odeon, on Kingsway & from cinemas in Stockport. Our best sources were The Apollo, Ardwick Green & the Cinemas along Oxford Road in Manchester.
Film Poster selection from my personal collection.
Saturday Matinees & The ABC Minors.
Do you have memories or memorabilia from the ABC Minors Club? Badges, Certificates, Birthday cards, Yo-Yos. Let me know. I would like to feature them here!
A Saturday Matinee in 1955. Cinemas must have been cold in those days, look at the hats, coats and gloves!!
ABC Minors Memorabilia
My friend, Brian Carter, Sent me the above photos of ABC Minors Memorabilia. 1) ABC Minors badge. Every true ABC Minor had one of these. There were several different versions, including a Coronation badge issued in 1953. 2) ABC Minors collectors cards. I do not remember these, but I would guess that there were several different sets. These shown represent "Parliament Buildings. Shown are the fronts of the UN Building, Paliament Buildings in Ottawa, Canada, The Kremlin and The Houses of Parliament in London. The back view is of the UN Building card. ( Via Brian Carter)
More ABC Minors memorabilia. (via Ebay and Brian Carter)
An ABC Minors Birthday Card. Can you name all the characters? Who are the Indian, and the boy and girl?
The ABC Minors Anthem. 'Da -Da-Da-Da-Da......Etc!"
Do you remember the ABC Minors Anthem. Sung to a John Philip Souza tune. Bring on the bouncing ball!!
The above three images were sent to me by Alan Ashton, who was a ABC Minor Monitor in the 1940s and 50s. The badge is from one of the film still displays which appeared outside many of the ABC theatres.
Many cinemas had organs from the 1930s to the 1970s. Did the ABC Regal ever have an organ? ( Photo via Alan Ashton)
A still from the Childrens Film Foundation film " Raiders of the River" 1956. Note , the boy is a very young Richard O'Sullivan ( Man About The House).
Pathe News & Pearl & Dean
Do you remember the British Pathe News? See the links page for a link to a truly fantastic site for newsreel fans!
Levenshulme TV locations.
Over the years since TV started regular broadcasting in the Northwest of England in the early 1950s, Levenshulme has been used as a location for a number of television productions, most recently probably was the BBC series "Life On Mars". This very different police drama was shot in and around Manchester and Stockport. The first two series used Levenshulme locations. Also scenes from the very successful Granada drama series "Cracker" were filmed in Levenshulme. This series starring Robbie Coltrane was filmed entirely in the Manchester area. I am also aware that Levenshulme High School is the location for Weatherfield Comprehensive School in the long running TV drama serial "Coronation Street" I am sure other Levenshulme locations have been used in " Corrie". The Levenshulme name shows up in spoken dialogue from time to time!!
Life On Mars. Levenshulme Locations
The two protagonists in "Life On Mars", Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt ( Phil Glenister). THe second photos shows an on location set up. It could be Levenshulme!
Kettering Road, North Levenshulme, "Life On Mars" locations.
Two Barlow Road, Levenshulme locations. 1) Corner of Barlow Road and Manor Road, 2) Corner of Cleveland Ave and Barlow Road.
Other Cinemas in the Levenshulme, Longsight, Burnage, Gorton and Heaton Moor Area.
Occasionally cinemagoers from Levenshulme would go out of the area to watch films. Below I will identify a few more of the cinemas that could be visited either on foot or by catching a bus a few stops down the road. The real treat was to visit a city centre cinema, where movies had there "first runs" . It was not unusual in the 50s and 60s for city centre movies to take several weeks or months to reach the suburban cinemas!
The Queens Theatre, Longsight.
Another view of the " Queens" Cinema in Longsight taken looking north on Stockport Road. Sad to think that nothing in this photo, taken in 1958, now exists. ( Manchester Libraries)
The Shaftesbury Cinema 1958
The Kings Theatre, Longsight
The Kings Theatre Longsight in 1920. Originally built as The Kings Opera House. It also showed films besides Music Hall and serious Theatre. The Kings was situated on Stockport Road. I never went there to see a film, but I remember going inside the building when it was being gutted after being unused for some years. That was in the mid1960s. The interior had the look of an old music hall. Many famous performers trod the boards at this theatre including Charlie Chaplin when he was appearing with Fred Karnos' troupe!
The Kings Theatre 1958, Currently showing " The Black Knight" with Alan Ladd. ( Manchester Libraries)
A similar view of The Kings in 1958. This photo must have been taken on a Sunday, as Stockport Road looks very quiet( Manchester Libraries)
Original Plans for the Longsight Opera House dating from 1900 and 1906. This was a grand looking building for its time. (Manchester Libraries)
Yew Tree Cottages . These cottages were demolished to be replaced by the Kings Theatre.( Manchester Libraries)
I always thought that the Kings Theatre had been demolished in the 1960s, but this photo was originally captioned "Kings rear door 1974" A very atmospheric photo looking towards Stockport Road" ( Manchester Libraries)
The Apollo, Ardwick Green, Manchester
The car park of the Apollo in the 1950s. There was originally another cinema on this land, but it was badly damaged during the Manchester Blitz and was demolished and never rebuilt.
Gorton Essoldo ( formerly The Rivoli)
The is the Essoldo Cinema at the north end of Mount Road in Gorton. This photo taken in 1963 shows it to be a fine looking Art Deco style cinema. Showing " Nurse On Wheels" with Juliet Mills. I remember going to see this film with my Dad at the Palace in Levenshulme. ( Manchester Libraries)
Poster and still of " Nurse On Wheels" 1963 Juliet Mills in " Nurse On Wheels" ( 1963)
The Capitol Cinema, Parrswood Road, Didsbury
This is the Capitol Cinema & Theatre in the early 1930s. Definitely a Super Cinema! The building closed as a cinema in the late 1950s, but had a long and interesting history.
Two views of the old Capitol building during its sad demolition.
Stockport was only 4 miles south of Levenshulme and it was only a short ride into the town centre where there were a number of cinemas showing a variety of films and also live stage entertainment. Among the town centre cinemas were the Essoldo and Super Cinemas on Wellington Road, The Plaza in Mersey Square and The Ritz off St. Petersgate.
The Essoldo Cinema
The Essoldo Stockport, Wellington Road, taken in the 1980s when it was a Cannon Cinema with twin cinemas.
The Essoldo before and during its demolition.
The Electric Cinema Theatre
This is a very early photo of a cinema known as The Electric Cinema Theatre.
The Ritz Cinema
This photo shows the Ritz Cinema, Stockport, during constuction.
The Davenport Cinema and Theatre
This photo shows the Davenport Cinema at the time of its demolition. Another fine theatre gone forever!!