Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918

Source: Extract from interview with Percival Frederick Chambers , C707/145/1-2, 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: Ah now, the cinema. In West Norwood my parents had a shop. A sweetshop where she – t[h]ey – my mother used to make all her own sweets. She had the sweetshop. My father was still at work. When he came home he used to help her make the sweets by pulling the sugar over the hook on the door you see. And we – the – in return for the – showing the bills of this – of the – cinema or the movies or whatever you like to call them – they used to issue so many free tickets which I used to go with on the Saturday afternoon and in return for that we use[d] to get in for a penny. And that used to be in – in Brixton. Now I used to go every week and there was a serial. In Acre Lane Brixton, opposite the town hall, and there was series they were running, a pirate series and of course being – a boy like other boys, there was always a rush and we all wanted to see this series and we – we didn’t want to miss any, we had to see the lot to get the story. Well that to be penny on the tram to Brixton, go to the pictures and back again and do the whole lot for about tuppence. Yes.

Comments: Percival Chambers (1894-?) was born in Kettering before his family moved to Cambridge and then West Norwood in London. His father was a stonemason. At the time recalled here (early 1910s) there were two cinemas in Acre Lane: The Brixton Arch and the Theatre de Luxe. He 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).