Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918

Source: Extract from interview with Florence Kate Johnson, 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 go to any cinemas?

A: There weren’t any. No. There was a thing called the Bioscope but I didn’t go to it, but I did go to Kensington and – you – sat in a coach – and thought you were tearing around, and seeing the scenery. I don’t know what – what it was. Paid about fourpence I think. That was before cinema anyway. The first cinema I think I went to was when – a King died. Now when was that? Oh I can’t remember when the cinema came, perhaps it was a bit earlier than I thought. Might have been. But of course we didn’t go much anyway.

Comments: Florence Kate Johnson was born in Battersea in 1892. The entertainment she half-remembers was Hale’s Tours of the World, in which motion pictures taken from the front of a train were projected inside a mock railway carriage which rocked to and fro as the audience inside viewed the films. The first Hale’s Tours in the UK opened in London’s Oxford Street in May 1906 and there was a Hale’s Tours located in Kensington High Street. The king dying was Edward VII, who died in 1910. She 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).