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I found this interesting little piece about the history of Arnold's original cinemas. Some stuff I'd never heard before such as a cinema called the 'Electric Pavilion' standing on Front Street roughly where Ravenswood Road is now.

http://arnoldforum.co.uk/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=80&Itemid=39

Cinema's Back

by Bob Massey

On Saturday 30th March 1957 at the Bonington Cinema on the corner of Nottingham Road, the film “Nowhere to go” finished running. The National Anthem started to play and the patrons filed out of the exit doors which were then closed behind them. With the Bonington closing its doors on this day, cinema was no more in this town of ours. For 45 years films had been shown on this spot, and in this building, from very early silent films through the start of talking pictures to colour. Through two world wars, in times of hardship and times of joy the cinema had its part to play. Up to a 1000 people at a time had experienced the thrills and spills, the laughter and the tragedy, entertaining young and old alike. Now the speakers were silent and the light flickered through the projectors no more, the doors were locked and the building left behind, dark and silent. Soon the seats and equipment were removed to the then Co-op Cinema on Broad Street ( now the Broadway) The clock was stopped and removed too, finding a new home above the door of Broadways Studio One. A home it still has today. Arnold was now without a cinema.

The history of Arnold’s attachment to the cinema goes back to the early 1900s. The annual show the Arnold wakes in late September attracted show people on their way to Goose Fair and, by this means, new entertainments were tried out. The cinema, in the form of living pictures, first made their appearance at Goose Fair in 1896 and it is therefore safe to assume that Arnold had witnessed the new experience by the 1900. The first documented viewing is from 1906 when George Black’s Waxworks Theatre arrived in Arnold for a 3 months stay. George Black had incorporated early film into his show and his exhibition was packed out with patrons returning many times to view the new spectacle.

The first cinema to be build in Arnold arrived in 1911 as the Electric Pavilion, a tin and brick building on Front Street about where the Ravenswood Road is now situated. This building only existed for about 12 months as a cinema as a new and spectacular building, the St Alban’s Picturedrome, was built in 1912 on the site now occupied by the Italian restaurant on Nottingham Road. This cinema was later rebuilt and became the first Bonington Theatre in 1929. A further cinema The King’s was built in 1913 near to the Cross Keys.

The town now had 3 cinema venues with two operating on a regular schedule. These catering for 1600 people twice nightly with a programme change twice a week. By 1957 these days were gone, the Cinema tax, television and other entertainments had taken their toll. Now only the cinemas in Nottingham beckoned and Arnold people had to travel for their entertainment. The King’s and the Pavilion had long gone and the Bonington building was demolished in the 1960s, with new buildings now occupying the sites. The people of Arnold would have to wait some 20 years after the closure of the old Bonington before Arnold could again have its own entertainment venue. The New Bonington Theatre built in 1982 as part of the Arnold Leisure Centre and Library complex was to bring back live entertainment to the area.

The brief for this new build was that it would also show films as well as the live shows. Although equipment was provided for this purpose there were problems with the requirements of the Cinematographic Act, which due to the building, limited films to only a maximum of 6 days a year. During the last 25 or so years, films have been shown at the theatre on special occasions, but regular screenings have not been possible. Until now that is: CINEMA IS BACK. After 51 years the Bonington is bringing back film to Arnold. Due to modern advances in film technology it is now possible to show films at the theatre and CINEMA will return to the town. A program of regular screenings for children and adults is being put together and Arnold people will again be able to visit the cinema in their own town as their parents, grandparents and great grandparents had done before them. Watch out for details coming soon.

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Now only the cinemas in Nottingham beckoned and Arnold people had to travel for their entertainment.

The Roxy and Metropole weren't exactly a million miles away

A program of regular screenings for children and adults is being put together and Arnold people will again be able to visit the cinema in their own town as their parents, grandparents and great grandparents had done before them. Watch out for details coming soon.

Bet ya life it's more than one and a tanner to get in...

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I have vague memories of going to the Bonnington on Saturday afternoons - but my greatest memory of it was going to see "Davy Crockett" with my dad! I then begged for Davy Crockett everything - including wallpaper and the hat!

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I remember getting a "Hopalong Cassidy" wrist watch at one christmas, it came mounted on a little saddle (made of cardboard) another classic xmas present was a plastic 4 string guitar with a "chordamatic" device that went round the neck, by pressing the various buttons on it levers pressed down to give the right chord, (could do with one now, esp for an F major!)

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Do I also remember the Curzon in Sherwood, it was near the bus depot, do not know when it closed though.

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CALTON HAD TWO CINEMAS THE RITZ ON BURTON RD JUST UP FROM INN FOR A PENNY OLD FOLKS HOME BUILT ON IT NOW. AND THE REGAL ON STATION RD NEAR THE FIRE STATION AND MY OLD SCHOOL,NOW PART OF CARLTON PENTICOSTAL CHURCH ONE DAY I WILL GO AND SEE MY OLD FRIEND DARYL WHO IS NOW THE PASTOR THERE AND ASK HIM TO SHOW ME IT NOWI WOULD LOVE TO SEE WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO IT WHEN I WENT TO PENTICOSTAL CHURCH IN MY EARLY TEENS IT WAS JUST ONE LITTLE HALL NOW A VERY BIG CHURCHDARYL WAS ALSO ONLY A TEENAGER IN THEM DAYS AND WAS ONE OF MY FRIENDS.ANYONE REMEMBER SUNSHINE CORNER. BUT THE LITTLE KNOWN CINEMA WAS IN NETHERFIELD I CAN ONLY JUST REMEMBER IT BEING OPEN THE COSY OPPOSIT MOTORIST DISCOUNT STORES BEHIND WHAT USED TO BE A BANK AND THE CHEMISTS SHOP ON VICTORIA RD NEAR FOX AND HOUNDS.ANYONE OF YOU OLD NETHO ITES REMEMBER THIS. MOST OF MY YOUNGER CINEMA DAYS WERE SPENT AT THE RITZ FIRST WITH MUM AND DAD THEN SATURDAY 6D RUSH AND LATER WITH VARIOUS DIFFERENT BOYFRIENDS, I THINK THE FIRST FILM I WENT TO SEE WITH A GUY WHO PAID FOR ME WAS CLIFF IN THE YOUNG ONES. WHAT WAS THE FIRST FILM YOU SAW WITH A GUY OR A GIRL FRIENDCAN YOU REMEMBER WERE WHAT FILM YOU SAW

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