Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918

Source: Extract from interview with Muriel Giles, C707/433/1-3, 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: What about the cinema, did you ever go to see a film or a matinee?

A. No, there were – wasn’t much in the cinema line in those days. I remember going to one when they first came out, my father took me – at Liverpool stat – just before Liverpool Street station – we were waiting for a train or something, and we had – and we went into this horrible little place and it was all – this was when they first came out, you know, it was all little benches you had to sit on, and it was Pearl White and those sort of people and – all these terrible things and then – nothing was speaking you see, it was all action and – and then just – they just leave you right in the midst of it, she was tied to the line and; the train was just coming along you know, and we had to go out.

Comments: Muriel Giles (1899-?) was born in Stoke Newington, London, and raised in Royston, Hertfordshire. Her father managed a timber yard. It is possible that the cinema she recalls was the Automatic Vaudeville and Daily Bioscope, which was located outside Liverpool Street station at 27-28 Bishopsgate Street Without and as the Daily Bioscope was arguably the first cinema in London, opening in May 1906. It remained in operation until at least 1913. Pearl White was the star of the Perils of Pauline serial, which was released in 1914. Mrs Giles 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).