Years of Change

Source: Arthur Newton, Years of Change: Autobiography of a Hackney Shoemaker (London: Hackney Workers’ Educational Association/Centerprise Publications, 1974), pp. 37-38

Text: Entertainment was altering too. The new-fangled ‘Moving Picture Theatre’ was creeping up on us. People up to now had relied on the Music Hall and their own family gatherings to pass an evening away, but now were able to see real moving pictures. No sound – not yet – that was to come around 1928. The first moving pictures I can remember seeing was in Bethnal Green Road, opposite the Red Church. One penny to go in and hard, backless forms to sit on. They gradually increased in number. The Museum Cinema in Cambridge Heath Road. Morley Hall – one penny to see, and if you sat behind the screen and saw the picture backwards, one halfpenny. Empress by St Thomas’s Square, Mare Steet, where its patrons were given tea and biscuits in the afternoon, and the Pavilion (just recently demolished) was built around 1914-1915. These were the first cinemas in the locality.

Comment: Arthur Newton was born 1902 in South Hackney, London.