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Beaufort Cinema Ward End / Washwood Heath

Chris B

master brummie
Hi All,
A little bit of info on the BEAUFORT CINEMA
The Beaufort Cinema one the architectural gems now long gone it was a known as a "Jacobethan Mansion as the design was a mixture of both Jacobean and Tudor design, the balcony lounge stained glass windows depicted all the Kings & Queens of England and I believe when demolition took place they were taken out and bought by an American, the marvelous solid oak staircase with its lions I think went to a house in wales, as it was all peg and mortise jointed so it took apart easily. The Beaufort when it was built was originally outside the Birmingham boundry, it came under Meriden council and as a consequence it was granted a Sunday licence when all of the cinemas in Birmingham only opened Monday to Saturday. The organ was broadcast by the BBC and because it was such a success it closed very shortly after opening to be extended, so as to increase the capacity, you can see this if you look at the exit halfway down the stalls it seems superfluous after the alterations. Originally it had 2 generators, one called Harry and The other called Len, after the names of Harry & Len Morris who were the main directors of the bulding firm Morris & Jacombes the company that owned the Beaufort. The generators were in a separate building some yards to the rear so that the cinema could generate its own electricity supply before it was connected to the Birmingham main supply when the bounderies were changed and it came under Birmingham council. The projection room was under balcony at the rear of the stalls, and all the oak doors had the linen fold panelling design with the tudor rose at the top corners of the architrave of the opening, the tudor rose was also carried through to the terrazo flooring of the entrance steps and the foyer floor, as you can see from the pics the pay desk was all ornamental to match and it it was a free standing one in the middle of the foyer with the kiosk tucked away under the staircase overhang, as when it opened cinemas didn't have kiosks, you got your goodies from the shop next door before you went in. I remember my Father telling me about when he was young and he went to the Beaufort on his motor bike which he had modified by taking the baffles out of the silencer to make it sound more sporty, when he came out he started up and a policeman leapt out of the shadows and said " That isn't how that was turned out of the factory" and promptly nicked him for having an inefficient silencer, that made it a dear night out.I did a lot of my courting there as it was between where I lived in Sheldon and where the girlfriend lived in Pype Hayes, the Father of June my girlfriend was strict on her being in by 10-30pm, so one night when we came out of the cinema at about 10-20pm it was a case of jump on my Lambretta and a quick dash to get her home on time, this one night there had been some rain during the evening and as I raced down Hodge Hill Road towards the island at the Hunters Moon I went through a deep puddle which drowned the engine, so out came the spanners to get the float chamber off the carburettor and empty the water out, tempus fugit as they say and June was dancing from one foot to another saying my Dad will kill me if I'm late, and sure enough when we rolled up at
10-40pm there he was standing on the step with a face as long as a gas mans mac, needless to say he was not impressed and didn't want to hear any excuses, but we all got over it in the fullness of time.
Regards Chris B
 

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Wendy

Guest
A smashing piece of information Chris. I never went to the Beaufort but Michael did he loved it! I used to do a lady's hair who's father was the manager for over 25 years. Sadly she is in a home now. How I wish I had taken a tape recorder with me when she told me about his time there.:(
 

Alberta

Super Moderator
Staff member
When you had watched a Romantic drama,you would come down those magnificent stairs as if you were the heroine LOL.

I lived in Washwood Heath after my marriage in 1961 and we often went to the Beaufort.
 

Bernard67Arnold

master brummie
My girlfriend lived in Glebe Farm and we would go to the pictures about twice a
week, it was either the Beaufort or the Atlas, back row seats if you get them oh! happy days, most cinemas changed the film three times a week,
so you had the choice, Mon Tues Wed or Thur Fri Sat, and a different one
for Sunday Bernard
 

john knight

signman
What a magnificent building, almost on par with the Barton Arms, dare I say.
I never went in, but passed it thousands of times.
Absolute sacriligion to get rid of buidings such as this, someone has got a lot to answer for.
Love the bill poster putting the last sheet up.
 

shavedfish49

master brummie
Great Chris B thanks for bringing back many memories! After moving from Nechells, the Beaufort (and the Capitol) were my local cinemas. I can tell you after scores of Saturday matinees at the Ashted Row picture house, the Beaufort was like a palace.

The background to the style and design it was built in is very interesting and I can understand why there were buyers ready to pounce when the final curtain closed on this magnicent picture house. The staircase and stained glass Kings & Queens windows have always stuck in my mind of fond memories of the place.

Does anyone remember the (ugly) doorman at the Beaufort? In the early 60s he barred many young teens from trying to get in for an 'X' certificate which was 16 and over at the time. I think his name was George. He reminded me of the original Phantom of the Opera, Erik played by Lon Chaney in the 20s. Sounds cruel but Im not joking.
 

The Baron

master brummie
THE VERY FIRST MOVIE HOUSE I REMEMBER AROUND 1943/45, I THINK THE MOVIE WOULD BE EITHER Mrs Minaver or The Inviable Man (for give the spelling) Grea Garson, Walter Pigeon. Claud Raines as the invisable man.
I would about 4 or 5 at the time we used to walk from Moss Vale Grove Ward End to the Fox & Goose. a ride on my dads back was the treat on the way Home.
 

mariew

master brummie
Lovely photos Chris I forgotten how beautiful the place was, thanks for posting them.
 

mike jenks

master brummie
hi

great pictures I think there is a thread covering Cinemas in Brum.
Sorry I missed this one.
See Postie warning about sections.

Mike Jenks
 

davidfowler

Exiled Brummie
I think I've posted this before but not sure.:rolleyes:
I used to go there when I was about 13 or 14 and try to get in to see "15"s or were they "P"s? Anyway, the thing to do then was to hang about until an adult came up and ask them to accompany me in. Once inside I'd go and sit elsewhere. Can you imagine this these days?!? The PC police would go mad (and I suppose I would as well if I thought my children were doing the same!)
Oh well, the good old days.:)
 

The Baron

master brummie
David I to spent many hour out side the Aston cross movie house doing just that.
HO HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED!!!!!
 

The Baron

master brummie
I agree it was "A" Certs, ANY ONE REMEMBER WHEN "H" Certs came out?.
I can remember seeing THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS at the victoria playhouse before it was re Certed as "H" (Peter Lorie)
Sorry I now I am off topic!!!
 

BilboC

master brummie
Nice description Chris B and great photo's, bring back lots of memories.
It was a superb building/cinema, what progress we have made knocking down such a wonderful structure and building the monstrosity that is there now! A bit like the 'progress' we have made in 'town'!! These things can only happen if we allow them to. Information is the key and this forum is a wonderful vehicle to bring things to everyones attention !!!
I remember going to the matinee at the Beaufort on Saturday mornings, we progressed from the 'Rock' cinema!
First saw 'Jungle Book' there with some pals we were only 22 at the time and started in the Hunters Moon and finished up in the Fox & Goose!!:D
 

davidfowler

Exiled Brummie
Yes, you're right. I did originally type "A" and then thought maybe that was an X film so went for the P option!:( It's an age thing:D
 

Mayfield

Burbury Brummie
Great photographs Chris, it was a lovely cimema. I took a young lady there to see a young actor called Dustin Hoffman star in the Graduate. She became my first wife, but I wont hold that against the cinema :D:D.............. Mabz
 

Dave89

master brummie
I remember going to the matinee at the Beaufort on Saturday mornings, we progressed from the 'Rock' cinema!


Hi BilboC

Last time I went to the Beaufort was to see Gary Glitter in 'Remember
me this way' Perhaps the title was a bit prophetic, both for the cinema and him!!

Kind regards

Dave.
 
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