Comments from Jeffrey Morris

Showing 1 - 25 of 61 comments

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Royal Playhouse Cinema on Aug 12, 2017 at 5:57 pm

Sadly, the former cinema is no more, although a grade II listed building it was demolished a few years ago with just the front façade being retained while the auditorium and foyer was completely demolished. A Poundland discount store now dominates the space. Photo added.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about ABC Walton-on-Thames on Aug 12, 2017 at 11:14 am

The iconic façade and entrance is partially visible when the steps and entrance to the Regal are featured for a brief few moments in the 1959 feature film The Price of Silence with Gordon Jackson meeting Maya Koumani and the visiting the Regal café. The film also starred the lovely June Thorburn before her devastating accident.

Another criminal demolition of an impressive cinema.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about ABC Regal Walton-on-Thames on Aug 12, 2017 at 11:05 am

The steps and entrance to the Regal certainly featured for a brief few moments in the 1959 feature film The Price of Silence with Gordon Jackson meeting Maya Koumani and the visiting the Regal café. The film also starred the lovely June Thorburn before her devastating accident.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Palace Cinema on Mar 1, 2017 at 7:38 pm

Sadly, the former Palace Theatre/Cinema on Carmel Street was acquired by the local authority following closure of the nightclub and failure to sell or let the venue. The cinema was demolished in 2015 and is now used as a car park. Another old venue lost.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about PAVILION/PALACE CINEMA - HIGH ST BLACKWOOD on Aug 14, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Forgot to add – photo taken – Aug 2014.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Maxime Cinema on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm

he Maxime cinema reopens as a five screen cinema complex with luxury bar on Wednesday the 6th August following a lengthy period of renovation remodelling the 1938 structure into a high tech modern cinema that will please cinemagoers throughout the former South wales industrial valleys.

Adam and his team have created a sympathetic, quality cinema that incorporates modern cinema exhibition technology together with that luxury feel that we used to enjoy when going to the pictures. Once again there will be a sense of occasion when going to the pictures in Blackwood, just as it used to be when the Maxime was last open as a fully functioning cinema.

Ticket prices are planned to be affordable at just £2.50 Mon-Fri and £3.50 Sat and Sun per person with no extras for 3D. The venue is sure to receive a warm welcome for the local community.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Maxime Cinema on Feb 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Indeed Michael, Davis Evelyn Nye was commissioned by the Jackson Withers Circuit to undertake all their Cinemascope alterations, Maxime and Capitol in Blackwood, Astoria Ebbw Vale, Olympis Tredegar, Plaza Cardiff, Palace Abertillery, Hanbury Bargoed, etc.

The original architects for the Maxime in Blackwood was William S. Wort of Cardiff, Wort had already established himself as a contemporary style architect of cinemas an theatres in Wales, including the Odeon in Cardiff together with impressive alterations and improvements to the then Prince of Wales Theatre in Cardiff.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Embassy Cinema on Feb 10, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Thanks Michael.

My comments that you responded to were related to the David Evelyn Neye cinemas in Wales. There are some fine examples still standing in England of course, as the two you have mentioned.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Maxime Cinema on Nov 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm

As already mentioned below, by puddle. Work is underway to transform the Maxime on Blackwood’s High Street into a four or five screen cinema. There is no doubt that the new owners will remodel the cinema into a state of the art multiscreen cinema that will become a popular attraction in this area of the former industrial valleys.

There is considerable internal damage to the original plasterwork, in particular in the balcony foyer and the non-public areas of the building.

Unfortunately most of the original plaster work featured in the auditorium was removed during the conversion from a single screen auditorium to that of a bingo hall. With so little of any merit remaining it is not possible to restore the venue as originally planned. Meanwhile there is some plasterwork in the lower ground floor foyer and at the rear of the stalls area, although this is minimal and unlikely to be of any importance when returning the cinema to use in today’s era. The remodelling undertaken by David E Nye during the installation of cinemascope remains intact.

Much of the focus will be to restore the façade while creating a modern five screen cinema complex within the auditorium. Two screens in the former balcony and three in the stalls.

Considerable modification of the ground floor and mezzanine foyers will enable the Maxime to be a modern business serving todays cinemagoers.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Maxime Cinema on Sep 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm

It is great news Gringo.

I imagine that Albert and other former staff members are no longer with us?

Rank were not overly pleased with the campaign group so you clearly did a good job.

Do you have any of the MAG material?

email me if you are able to?

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Maxime Cinema on Sep 18, 2013 at 9:41 pm

The former Maxime cinema, trading as Top Ten Bingo, was put up for sale by auction. The former cinema has been sold to the Picturedrome Electric Theatre Company. The new owners plan to restore the venue back to use as a cinema with 4 or 5 screens.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Scene Cinemas on Apr 24, 2013 at 8:39 pm

I got out of the industry long before you then Mike. Where were your cinemas and what were they called? I am curious as there might be some I know.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Scene Cinemas on Apr 24, 2013 at 6:37 pm

@ Mike. Sadly you are right. I left cinema exhibition a few years back and it was the wise thing to do back then and even more so nowadays, so sad.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Scene Cinemas on Apr 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Very sad to read the news of its closure. I understand the operator was unable to justify upgrading the venue to digital as it wasn’t financially viable.

Another South Wales cinema lost.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Globe Cinema on Oct 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm

External link to photos of auditorium and projection room of the Globe.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Globe Cinema on Oct 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Although I can’t be sure, I understand the Globe Cinema has closed even to the general public.

As a SKC cinema it wasn’t one of the best. Many of the former AKC venues were very much a make do affair, though there were many formidible SKC cinemas purpose built over seas.

My last visit to the Globe was several years ago when it still served the military community. Back then it was a polished but cold environment, similar to the dormitory.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Blackwood Miners' Institute on Feb 21, 2012 at 3:12 am

Hi Eric,

The Stute in Blackwood was not well known for showing films. During the early days they did screen films occasionally.

Most films were shown at the Palace cinema, the very first cinema in Blackwood. The Palace closed as a cinema due to the conversion of the much larger market hall {The Capitol Cinema} in Market Street. Later the Maxime Cinema was built in the High Street. The Stute couldn’t compete. The former Palace cinema became Babers furniture store and is now a Wetherspoons pub.

Later, with the closure of the Maxime cinema for exclusive use as bingo, the Stute was given a large grant and refurbished with the intention of it being a multipurpose venue for films and live performance, all badly managed in the early days. Nowadays it rarely shows films.

I sat through the programme you mention also. It is a shame that there was no mention of the venue showing films. Perhaps it was seen as too irrelevant for the content of the programme you mentioned.

Most Blackwood locals reminicing of cinema going in the town would mention the Maxime, others might remember the Capitol and a few might recall the Palace.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Astoria Theatre on Oct 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Following years of neglect it now appears that the former Astoria cinema will be demolished having received permission to do so by the local authority.

Although this will most likely be challenged it is unlikely to reverse the situation. A venue of this nature in a city such as Brighton ought to be a viable business opportunity offering a multipurpose venue that can be financially rewarding. However, with no business plan or vision for alternative use and restoration over a decade or so it is unlikely that the local authority or those listening to any appeal will have a change of thought. It is Very sad indeed.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Cameo Cinema on Jul 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

The Palace opened on the 10th November 1910. Although a popular cinema the Palace closed as a cinema during the mid to late 1960s and offered bingo 7 days a week. The Palace and the Hanbury were both operated by the Jackson Wither’s circuit, it is unknown as to why the Palace was chosen for bingo rather than the Hanbury. In comparison the Hanbury was a more modern venue and this might have influenced the Jackson Wither’s circuit’s decision to convert the Palace for use as a bingo hall on a full time basis.

Although a number of cinemas continued to operate through the valleys during the seventies they struggled. The Jackson Wither’s circuit was no exception. The circuit made the decision to convert the nearby Hanbury cinema to bingo. The reasons for this are unclear as the Palace was at that time trading as a bingo club and had been successful.

During the early seventies Brian Bull acquired the former Palace cinema, possibly from the Rank Organisation who had bought the entire Jackson Wither’s circuit. Brian Bull developed the Palace into a new cinema and renamed it as the Cameo cinema with new seating on one level. The newly refurbished auditorium was a comfortable venue as a cinema.

The Cameo opened on the 26th December 1973 and was an instant success. The cinema continued to function through the early eighties. I believe it closed during the eighties although I’m not entirely sure exactly when or why it closed.

Brian Bull owned the Cameo and the Hanbury. During the 90’s Brian planned to reopen the former Hanbury cinema, some work had been carried out on the former cinema with a view of opening as a full time cinema, for unknown reasons this never happened. Brian experienced some difficulties with the local authority and this might have contributed to his decision not to proceed with the venture.

In 1994 the Cameo lease was advertised in Screen International.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Hanbury Cinema on Jul 27, 2011 at 10:50 am

Hi Capelmawr I spent time researching the Jackson Withers Circuit and there has been confusion and debate over the ownership. I have heard the name Alfred Withers and Albert Withers, I assumed they might be brothers although it was Albert Withers who went into business as the Jackson Withers Circuit with Julian Hodge. If you are able to clarify or throw any additional information I would be interested in reading it?

see here:

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Prince of Wales Theatre on Jul 6, 2011 at 12:55 am

Although no longer a cinema or theatre this venue is now a popular Weterspoons pub. The chain has restored some of the glory once seen when entering the auditorium for film shows.

The former circle is in use for drinking and dining as is the stalls. The stage forms a second bar area and several private balcony boxes have been restored. It really is impressive and splendid and a showcase for the pub chain.

Lovers of old cinemas can sit with a pint for an hour or so and clearly see how splendid the auditorium would have been.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Maxime Cinema on Jul 4, 2011 at 11:22 am

Christian’s input is interesting. I have also heard that Diana Dors visited the Maxime although like Christian I’m not able to expand on the reasons why as I’ve never been able to dig deeper on this idea.

The cinema did screen The Exorcist and was given some rough media coverage as a result although the queues were considerable so the negative press coverage certainly attracted the patrons.

Unfortunately for me I wasn’t allowed in to the Maxime to see the Exorcist as I was 15 at the time and turned away by the ticket seller in the box office who recognised me from numerous visits, with a children’s ticket… lol I had to go to another cinema in the valleys to see the film.

It was a similar story with Emmanuelle, another film shown at the cinema attracting considerable press attention. Others included Straw Dogs, Soldier Blue, Last Tango in Paris and Clockwork Orange {I’m certain this was shown}.

Good to read that like myself Christian enjoyed his experience of the Maxime.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about ABC Blackpool on Jun 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm

What a shame that this venue is no longer operating as a cinema or theatre.

My first visit here was in either 1971 or 1973 while on a coach trip from the Welsh valleys to see the Blackpool Illuminations. At that time the venue was known as the ABC Princess and during our visit the ABC was in use for live performances although movies were being advertised in the foyer as future attractions once the Summer/Autumn season was over with.

Our visit was to see a stage show with starring Cilla Black. To us valley types at that time the auditorium was pure luxury and the stage presentation exceptional at that time. To me it would have been unthinkable to convert the venue from one auditorium to split screens. The facade was certainly late sixties and appeared to be covering the original structure.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Commodore Cinema on May 31, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I’ve a fond memory of visiting this cinema back in 1969/1970 while on a family holiday in Ryde. My Sister and I went along to the Saturday morning picture show, we sat through a CFF programme with a packed auditorium, presumably a mixture of local children alongside us holidaymakers.

There was no bingo then the entire cinema was a single screen operation. It is hard to imagine it as a three screen cinema with bingo in the original stalls.

If my memory serves me right KES was the movie playing during the main performances for that week, which would have been August. The cinema itself offered a moderate size auditorium, the facade I’m sure was brilliant white and the cinema name was featured in large letter signage above the entrance. Stills from the main feature were displayed outside as was common back then.

During a visit to Ryde a couple of years ago I walked past the Commodore cinema, it looked so much smaller to how I remember it. I think Peter Walker had recently acquired it and had tidied the facade. I would love to see a photograph of the venue interior and exterior as it would have been back then.

Reading here that the venue is under threat I do hope it can continue to operate as a cinema.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris commented about Astoria Cinema on May 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm

The new website is a freat improvement. How do we correct the maps? The Astoria cinema was in Ebbw Vale, the map here shows it in Tredegar, which is the next valley.