The Pavilion Cinema

The Pavilion Cinema  on the corner of Doncaster Road and Gervase Street,1961.  It was built as The Geisha Roller Skating Rink in 1909, roller skating proved to be a passing phase and by 1912 it became the Pavilion Cinema.

The Pavilion Cinema on the corner of Doncaster Road and Gervase Street,1961.
It was built as The Geisha Roller Skating Rink in 1909, roller skating proved to be a passing phase and by 1912 it became the Pavilion Cinema.

The hall opened in 1909 on the corner of the towns Gervase Street & Clayfield Road (later renamed Doncaster Road) for the worldwide craze at the time for roller skating and was called Geisha Rink. However this craze quickly fazed and it was soon converted to a cinema and leased out to Mr Henry Newton who would later become the sole manager, he named the place the Pavilion Picture House which opened in 1913, however it was known by generations as The Rink.

It was the largest of the cinemas which came to operate in Scunthorpe with 1,371 seats which were on a flat floor to the front then raking upwards with two side balconies.

By 1918 Mr Arthur Watson J.P. was the lessee and Mr Harry Watson been the manager. By then films were showing continuous with two changes of programme weekly. Prices of admission ranged from 4d up to 1/–.

The Geisha Roller Rink which was converted into the Pavilion Cinema

The Geisha Roller Rink which was converted into the Pavilion Picture House

On stage, between films such as “The Kid” and “The Gold Rush” the cinema would feature live acts.

The Wilf Bilson Orchestra played musical accompaniment to the silent films for a short period but from 1927 films were provided with musical accompaniment from a Fitton and Haley orchestral organ, this was a 2 Manual organ with chambers either side. For many years the organist was Richard South, he had also been the organist for the Methodist Chapel in Trent Street, the Centenary Methodist Church on Frodingham Road, the Weslyen Methodist Church and the Trinity Methodist Church on Scunthorpe High Street. He had been an organist from the age of 14 until his death in 1983.

Albert 'Tickteen' Roebuck

Albert ‘Tickteen’ Roebuck

In 1937 the organ was removed from The Pavilion Picture House and replaced with the then latest Hammond Electronic sound system.

One former employee, Aubrey Kiddle, recalled in 1994 that he had started working at The Pavilion aged 14, he said when the films came of the projectors it was the job of the rewind boys to rewind it back on to the spools and if there were any breakages they would have to carry out repairs. He said in joining the two lengths of film together they used to cut it on a frame and scrape the film, rejoining it with a special solution. All the joins had to be blanked out with a special ink to stop the noise when they when through the projector. He said a lot of the outside edges of the film where they went through the sprockets were also damaged and needed repairing.

In 1945 Aubrey Kiddle moved from The Pavilion Cinema to The Ritz Cinema which was just across the road.

The films at The Pavilion were initially projected onto the screen from the rear but a projection room was later created at the front. The projectors were not fitted with bulbs but with ‘carbons’ producing light between negative and positive charges. All the projectors were water cooled because they were run at such  high amps.

In the early days of The Pavilion there had been no Sunday screenings though these started during the Second World war and continued afterwoods.

One of the characters many cinema users would remember would be is Albert ‘Tickteen’ Roebuck who worked there for over 30 years covering such duties as boiler-man, caretaker and usher. His nickname ‘Tickteen’ came from his speech impediment and resulting difficulty to pronounce certain words – as an usher he would regularly asks young looking cinema goers if they were over sixteen. When the Pavilion closed he went on to work at The Majestic Cinema on Oswald Road

Stars to have appeared at The Pavilion over the years include a young Cliff Richards, Marty Wilde, Emile Ford, Larry Cassidy, Jess Conrad and Billie Fury.

By the 1950’s The Pavilion Picture House was run by the Leeds based Star Cinemas chain. By the late-1950’s admission prices rocketed, this proved to be the final nail in the coffin for this cinema which and it closed in October 1961. It was sold for development and by early-1962 it had been demolished and replaced with a block of shops known as Pavilion Row which is still their to this day.

Pavilion staff outside the cinema, Albert 'Tickteen' Roebuck is sat bottom left

Pavilion staff outside the cinema, Albert ‘Tickteen’ Roebuck is sat bottom left, standing far right is Jack steeper who was Senior Projectionist. Also on the photo are Jean Hill and Laura Richards.

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One thought on “The Pavilion Cinema

  1. Middle row second left is Louisa Harling my Nan recall her stories of when she was an usherette at The Rink. Great to see this picture, thanks

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