Britains 1st Cinema Opens
Early showings of cine films took place in music halls, theatres, private homes including Windsor Castle , and anywhere else where seats were available and the space allowed for the necessary distance between screen and projector. Cinema was a novelty, an addition to other activities. But then in 1901 the tide changed. Music Hall would endure for some time yet, but the future of popular entertainment for the first half of the 20th century was to be cinema.
Britain’s first cinema proper was in Islington , converted from part of the Beaux-Arts style Agricultural Hall there designed by Frederick Peck and built in 1869. It was subsequently used as a concert hall, and lately had been the base for the American minstrel show of the Mowhawk Minstrels, the building being renamed Mowhawk Hall to reflect this. On August 3 1900 the theatre, which with stalls and balcony was ideal for the purpose, showed its first film. Such was the success of the film shows that a year and two days later the establishment was dedicated solely to cinema.
In fact the place reverted to mixed use the following year when new management took it on, but by 1908 was again a full-time cinema, as it remained until 1963 when fashions were changing again and it became a bingo hall.
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