Denis: Wartime memories of the Winston cinema in Meltham
READER L Stone of Slaithwaite has sent me a wonderfully nostalgic “souvenir” programme published by The Winston cinema in Slaithwaite on July 22, 1943.
It cost one penny with all proceeds going to local charities.
Performances were “continuous nightly” from 5.45pm but on Saturday there were three showings: 2.15, 5.45 and 8pm. Prices ranged from 9p to 1/9d.
This was during the height of the Second World War and in his notes, the theatre's managing director A R Wood, seems to be boasting of new renovations as he urged patrons to “get the Winston habit”:
“Bearing in mind the various restrictions under which we are placed we have spared no expense to bring the theatre up to modern standards and with this, coupled with the programmes we shall offer from time to time, we know we can be assured of your increasing and continued support.”
The Dambusters raids had taken place the month before, the Allies had just invaded Sicily, and the Red Army had mounted an offensive in the East but the outcome of the war remained uncertain and times were still hard on the Home Front.
Everyone needed cheering up and the programme reflected a mix of homespun British fun and Hollywood glamour amongst the films to be seen that summer, that starred Old Mother Riley, Arthur Askey, Charles Boyer, Rita Hayworth, Edward G Robinson and Judy Garland.