Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918

Source: Extract from interview with Charles Ward, C707/249/1-4, Thompson, P. and Lummis, T., Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918, 1870-1973 [computer file]. 7th Edition. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive [distributor], May 2009. SN: 2000,

Text: Q: Did you start going to cinemas or music halls at this time?

A: Music halls, yes. There was no cinemas there. No, no, they hadn’t started then. They had what they called the bioscope at the end of – a music hall performance, that was – just a – well I think they were still pictures if I remember – no, no, they – they moved but – how it was done I don’t know, it wasn’t quite like it is now, it wasn’t a true movie, no. And that was only just – oh about half a minute I suppose – right at the end of – almost every performance.

Comments: Charles Ward (1894-?) was in an orphanage from ages four to eleven after his father died and until his mother (who had been a music hall singer) remarried, when the family lived in the King’s Cross area of London. This memory dates from the King’s Cross period. Motion pictures were often shown at the end of music hall and variety theatre programmes in the era before cinemas. Charles Ward was one of 444 people interviewed by Paul Thompson and his team as part of a study of the Edwardian era which resulted in Thompson’s book The Edwardians: The Remaking of British Society (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1975).