Faringdon's first cinema, from 1914 until mid 1930s
Extracts from the Faringdon Advertiser, kindly provided by Ann Preston
Corn Exchange to become The Faringdon’s Electric Picture Palace
The Corn Exchange is, on Easter Monday, (13th April 1914) to be opened as a Picture Palace, a well-known company having taken the building for a considerable period.
The management assures the inhabitants of Faringdon and District that great care will be taken in the selection of pictures, which will be changed three times weekly
April: Opening of the Picture Palace
The Corn Exchange was on Easter Monday opened as a Picture Palace, when the promoters had a good send off. So popular was this, the only Bank Holiday attraction in the town, that the building was not large enough to accommodate all those who applied for admission, and quite a number had to be turned away.
The large audience thoroughly enjoyed the programme of pictures, which included some capital subjects, the star picture of the evening being In the midst of the jungle, which depicted some exciting scenes in connection with big game shooting and animal life in the jungle in a most realistic manner.
May: great attractions are advertised for next week
On Monday and Tuesday A fight for fortune should prove very interesting and exciting, together with the usual full programme, and the comedy Mabel’s Lovers.
On Wednesday and Thursday two special pictures Foiling the fire fiends, and The Fire Cup will be shown by special request of the Faringdon Fire Brigade, Thursday being the Fire Brigade night.
Later in May Mr B Mulford, of the ‘Volunteer’ Inn, treated the inmates at the Workhouse and the children to the cinema on Saturday afternoon, and also gave sweets to the children.
July: new facilities to please
The Management of the Faringdon Electric Picture Palace are doing their best to please their patrons not only as regards providing pictures of a refined and entertaining character, but they also cater for the comfort and convenience of the public, and this week has seen the introduction of a good number of comfortable tip-up seats in the 9-penny and 6-penny departments, and there are other improvements to follow.
Click on each of the images below to see a bigger image of the advertisements and articles in 1914.
Ode to the cinema
A cinema show in Faringdon! No!
That certainly can’t be true,
For Faringdon wouldn’t, it simply couldn’t,
Embark on anything new.
Just think of the cost, and the labour lost,
And the nerves of the people shaken;
I certainly can’t believe it – I shan’t!
I’m sure you must be mistaken –
For Faringdon swore, in the days of yore,
In the time of Adam, bless him!
That when he was gone they’d bungle on,
With nothing new to distress him,
That never his rest should be distress’d
By thoughts of a new invention:
The citizens would be, oh, so good,
Not a change would they ever mention.
Well, Adam slept, and the oath was kept,
Not a sign of a change was seen,
Till we stand aghast – something fresh at last
In the year Nineteen Fourteen!
Later in July: A change in the scenic arrangements has been made
A new stage has been erected, with an ornamental front, and the operator’s studio and the film sheet have been transposed, and a ‘Cosy Corner’ has been arranged, which no doubt will be fully appreciated. [Does anyone remember a Cosy Corner?]
August: following the declaration of war
Patriotic pictures of the movements of soldiers and sailors have been introduced.
September: patriotic films
Military dramas and patriotic films are included in the programme for next week; pictures will not fail to excite the highest patriotic feelings when The Honour of the Flag, and Our Brave Defenders are shown.
Later in September: supporting the Red Cross Society
The Managers of the popular Faringdon Cinema have again shown their patriotism by arranging an evening’s entertainment in aid of the funds of the Faringdon Branch of the British Red Cross Society.
The entertainment took place on Thursday evening (24th September) and was a great success.
The seating accommodation was utilised to the fullest extent of the building, and was not sufficient to accommodate the audience.
The entertainment was patronised by a number of ladies and gentlemen actively associated at the present time with the local work and arrangements of the Red Cross Society, and assistance in various ways was rendered by the men and women certificated members of the Society, who wore the uniform provided.
A capital programme was provided of patriotic and other pictures, interspersed with vocal and instrumental music.
Twenty boys and twenty girls, scholars at the Faringdon Council School, were grouped on the platform, the girls wearing red, white and blue sashes, and all carrying miniature flags. They sang in a very hearty and efficient manner, the now popular song, The Lion’s on Guard, and the new recruiting song, Fall in. In a later appearance they sang with equal success, We’ve got a mailed fist too and Land of Hope and Glory. The entertainment closed with the singing of the National Anthem.