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THE old Majestic Ballroom in Primrose Hill Street, Hillfields (now the Colosseum night spot) has been in the news for giving away pieces of its old dance floor. DAVID McGRORY looks at it in its heyday when it was the Globe Cinema.

THE 924-seater Globe Cinema was opened to the public in September 1914 and in 1925 was taken over by Victory Motion Pictures Ltd, headed by Oscar Deutsch who started off the better-known Odeon Cinema circuit.

In 1935 the cinema came into the hands of Five Star Circuit after their split with the Philpot Circuit.

It then went back to the Odeon Circuit which refurbished it in the early 1940s.

One visitor to the cinema in the 1940s was Alan Brown, of Binley Road.

He recalls: "As a child I used to go there, as did a lot of children on the Saturday Morning Club. To join the club you had to be five years old and it cost 6d to get in. Ice cream and drinks were 3d."

"You were let in to the cinema at 9am and the show finished at dinner time. The first film was a Walt Disney cartoon, then a short comedy like the Three Stooges or Our Gang followed by the serial Anchor's Away or Flash Gordon.

"Then it ended with a main short film, either cowboys and Indians, pirates or the East Side Kids."

Little did Alan imagine that when he grew up he would work at the Globe as a projectionist. He started as a rewind boy at the Palladium in King William Street, he recalls.

"I was asked to work there to help Bill Perry, so that he and the other projectionists could have a night off."

He remembers that the rules which governed cinemas in those days were very strict and that films in all cinemas had to end at 10.30 pm and the audience had to be out within half an hour.

Alan says: "If the show ended after 10.30 pm the manager had to inform the police or lose his licence."

During his time at the Palladium Alan began to learn the art of the projectionist and when Bill Perry left to become first projectionist at the Globe he asked Alan to go with him and become his second projectionist, which he did.

He remembers: "Bill gave me extra tutorial in the skills of a projectionist and soon he was able to take days or nights off leaving me in charge. I felt very important, and I was

"The Sunday show started at 3pm until 9pm and the cinema had to be emptied and locked by 9.30. The police checked all cinemas to make sure the law was obeyed."

Prices for the seats were 9d, 1/-, 1/3d, 1/9d, 2/3d and the courting seats at the back, which were double seats for those particularly interested in cinema, or something else, a bargain at only 2/9d.

Alan recalls that the relief manager (in the photo wearing hat and glasses) was Mr Hunt who was also an organist and known to play at the Gaumont.

The Globe Cinema after years of delighting picture goers was closed in 1956 by its owners the Rank Organisation which shortly afterwards converted it into a ballroom called the Majestic, but that's another story.

Question of UK defence

THIS excellent photograph, sent to me by Bryan Thompson of Crowsborough, was left to him by his late uncle William Fardon of Middlemarch Road, Radford.

It shows his uncle's father, Oswald Fardon (centre, middle row) who appears to have been a member of the Rotherham's Rifle Club. Bryan also has three shooting medals, one bears William Fardon's name for shooting 1300 to 1500 yards and another bears the words Coventry Rifle League, 1911-12, Rotherham Rifle Club.

I would guess the photograph dates from about 1900 and shows members of the Rotherham's Rifle Club posing in front of what appears to be a watchmaking workshop (right) with its large windows.

The rifle club was set up by John Rotherham Junior of Rotherham & Sons Watch and Case Makers in Spon Street sometime in the late 19th century, when many such clubs were set up for national defence if necessary.

Did you know?

THAT in 1928 the Globe Cinema had a huge orchestral organ fitted. It was played for the first time by a W F Rogers to a packed audience.

AFTER the Globe closed it became the Majestic, then the Orchid Ballroom, then the Mecca Bingo and Social Club, then Walkers Bingo Club, then the Tic Toc Theatre and finally the Colosseum.

ON Stripes Farm in Radford in the late 19th century was a rifle shooting range. The targets were mounted on huge concrete buffs, which stood at the end the 800-yard range. The bulls stood to the south-east of Jubilee Crescent.

What's in a name?


WITHIN the fork of Holbrook Lane and Foleshill Road in Coventry was a small piece of ground, which was once known as Vauxhall. It appears to have taken its name from the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in 18th-century London. At our Vauxhall stood a house, which at one point was surrounded by old gravestones set into the ground and walls. The building and the stones disappeared long ago. Co-incidentally the present site of Vauxhall is appropriately and strangely home to a Vauxhall car dealership.

If you have any photographs, documents, memories or anything else to do with old

Coventry and Warwickshire please write to David McGrory, Time Tunnel, Coventry Evening Telegraph.


A TRIP TO THE PICTURE HOUSE: The Globe Cinema (above) as it was in its heyday and (right) just before it came the Majestic Ballroom. FOR NATIONAL GOOD: The Rotherham Rifle Club; REEL JOB: Alan in the rewind room at the Globe aged 18 years (above left) and the staff of the Globe photographed in 1952.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 11, 2002
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