Sunday, 18 December 2016

Cinema memories

The current Odeon in Loughborough

Last week I was lucky enough to go to a workshop in Leicester on cinema and memory, a session which was focused on people's memory of films they'd seen and research that is being done into this area, with the aim of developing more collaboration between community groups and researchers working in this area.

One of the points that was made was that if you asked someone something like what was the first film they went to see, they didn't usually remember much about the actual film, and were more likely to describe the whole experience. While I was thinking about this I was trying to remember my own experience of going to the cinema, and I found I was no different, so this is my story of the first time I went to the cinema on my own.

It was a James Bond film, with Sean Connery: it was 1971, so it was Diamonds are Forever. I can't remember anything specific about the film, except for the noise and the excitement, but I do remember other things, like: it was at the Odeon in Newport, which was situated on a busy road, at a traffic-light controlled junction. I went on the bus with a school-friend; we were both 11. I'd been into town on the bus before, to meet friends, and I knew where the bus stop was, but I also knew that the bus sometimes had to stop at the traffic lights, and people often got off there. My mother also knew this. She very firmly told me we were not to get off at the lights if the bus had to stop there, but to continue on and get off at the proper bus stop. As we approached the lights, they turned to red. We got off the bus! And that it what I remember about that cinema trip!!

You may be wondering what this has to do with Loughborough? I wasn't brought up in Loughborough, and I don't remember the double seats in the back row (apparently called Chummies in Scotland!) at the Victory, so I was going to ask you what your memory of your first cinema visit was: did you go to the Victory, or the Essoldo (or the Empire, or the New Empire, or the Classic)? Or, was it the Odeon the showing that film you desperately wanted to go and see? Maybe your first cinema-going experience was to the Curzon (yes, I know this was formerly the Essoldo, Empire etc.)? 

The former Odeon in Loughborough
And then I thought I wonder if the Newport cinema is still there, so I went off and searched the internet, as you do! And I was surprised! It's had mixed fortunes, and is a Grade II listed building, now called the Neon, and is showing films again. But that wasn't the only thing that surprised me! If you'd asked me to describe the cinema I visited over 40 years ago, I'd have been able to tell you the doors were kind of sideways on to the footpath, and there was a lot of black around them, but I wonder if subconsciously I remembered this, hence why I am so attracted to our own former Odeon, now Beacon Bingo? I used Google maps to walk virtually along the street I remembered and was shocked when I saw the building and how similar it is to our former Odeon! 

The similarity, of course, was because they were both built for the Oscar Deutsch chain, and designed by Arthur Price, of the Harry Weedon Architect firm, and built in the streamlined moderne style. Loughborough's cinema was built in 1936, Newport's in 1938: both are now Grade II listed.

Anyway, back to cinema memories: if you want to check the cinema memories website, which is still under construction, you can find it at    

You are welcome to quote passages from any of my posts, with appropriate credit. The correct citation for this looks as follow:

Dyer, Lynne (2016). Cinema memories. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 8 December 2016]


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