(Please click over photos to enlarge (Top left and second down on right are Empire photos from the 60s, the top right is the Empire during the 30s. The second down on the right is a old photo of the Palace Cinema, long before it became Fletcher and Hunton. The photo at the bottom is of the old vicarage which was a predecessor to the Empire.
Are you going flicks on Saturday? But most would probably say, Are you going to pictures. I actually can’t remember anyone saying “Are you going to the Cinema”…………..
Saturday afternoon (Matinees) where always the favourite for youngsters with the weekly episodes of Flash Gordon.
Are you sitting in the usual seats this week, the one and sixpennies at the back (or the first two rows at the very front) or the two bobs at the front, and if you were taking your lass out maybe you would go for the two and sixpennies which lie about half way back and here you had a lot posher more comfortable seat (better upholstered) than the cheaper seats.
There again if you where hard up that week you could always go on the bob (shilling) bench at the back of the pictures just below where the projectionist was operating….
Tony Hoyle along with his mother, ran the show at the Empire, they were very strict, but very fair with everyone, and very well respected. Occasionally you would see one of them walking down the aisles with their torches and shining it down on someone and telling them to “keep quiet” and if they carried on talking after that and Tony had to come to them once more, he would then ask them to leave.
I do believe the Hoyle’s also owned the other pictures in the town, which was called the “Palace” and was in Beaconsfield Street (now Fletcher & Hunton Furnishings). I did go to this place a couple of times, but can’t remember it too clear. They also ran the Duke of Wellington pub on Grane Road.
As time went on, the flicks also was a great place for some of us to do our courting and the Empire was the place where we would take our lasses out too, once or twice a week, and then on the way home would call off at chippy for a bag of chips wrapped up in a outer sheath of old newspaper made into a bag and all this would cost a “tanner” (sixpence), and it was and had been this price for many a year.
Then all of a sudden there came a shortage of spuds, or that’s the story we got, and the chippies all had to start using new potatoes and so they said they had to put up the price of the chips accordingly, but no one seemed to worried at the time because they did promise to bring the price down again once the shortage had passed by!
They never did! and that was the start of the rising prices at the chippy….. those days it was only one and sixpence for fish and chips (or a bob and a tanner)..
Some used to bring in to chippy their porcelain bowls and would get pie and pies, or steak pudding and peas or some just a plain “mixture” (chips and peas)………
1700hrs 16th May 2011 added: (kindly sent in by Clifford Hargreaves)
I have been reading about The Empire Cinema on your blog which brought back many memories. There used to be two "houses " on a Saturday night , I think the first was about 6pm and the second about 8.30pm. I can also remember going to the cinemas in Rawtenstall, The Picture House on Bacup Road and the Pavilion in the centre. I had 8d spending money on a Saturday afternoon 4d for a quarter of Horners Cream Toffee,2d return on the bus to Rawtenstall and 2d admission to the cinema.
1540hrs 16th May 2011 added:
3 photos kindly sent in by Ken Stott of the Stott & Vizzard shop which was on Blackburn Road - also now included in "Blackburn Road Blog" and also under "photo album" in left window pane.....
Dave White here, Just read your column in the free press about going to the pictures very good, the chippy was Danny Rudges top of prinney hill ,we use to come out of the pictures before the national anthem and run like hell to danny's the last one in had to pay for all the suppers .
Thanks to our mighty "Empire" and also
to Tony and Mrs. Hoyle