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Birmingham Cinemas

Old & Grey

master brummie
Taking inflation into account and the multiple screen cinemas increased capacity, I wouldn't be surprised to find that most modern cinemas aren't doing anything like as well as they were 40-50 years ago before the advent of home video, massive TV screens and High Definition transmission.
Then again, there seem to have been many waves of closures, re-fits and changes of use. A lot of cinemas died in the 60s and went over to concert halls, bingo halls, asian cinema occasionally, arts centres ... When they started closing the big ones in the 80s, there wasn't that much they could do with them. Nowadays you get cinema shows in pubs, cafes and nightclubs and short "festivals" in other places. Some cinemas are only cinemas part of the time.
Our local cinema was refurbished, but it seems that asbestos was found and now it's not going to reopen for some time. Sad really as it's just like one of the old cinemas we grew up with. It's one of the very few cinemas that are allowed to use the old Pearl & Dean logo
 

paul stacey

master brummie
My dear dad always took me to the "News Theatre", near to New Street Station , on Sunday afternoons, to watch the cartoons, Mickey mouse. Donald Duck, etc. I remember it with great clarity although some 60 odd years ago. Paul
 

handlebar

master brummie
I always thought the 50's were an exciting time Cinemawise. Cinemascope was something to wonder at, especially if it was done properly. The Royalty, Harborne, had an impressive installation which, as it widened out, made for real anticipation. Not like The Picture House (Old Harborne) at the top of the High Street, which had no proscenium arch and was cumbered with exit doors either side of the screen. They installed a much larger screen with masking that descended, leaving a letterbox shape picture at the bottom of the screen. Cinemascope was smaller than normal. We didn't worry about queueing in the rain. They were great times where showmanship was standard.
 

cookie273uk

master brummie
Paul, I loved the old News Theatre, and the Tatler, I was a sucker for cartoons (still am), sometimes I would stay and watch the programme over again
 

paul stacey

master brummie
The Royalty was my Cinema too "Handlebar", I remember the old Harborne, next to the Bus garage, the first film my dad took me too see was, "A Hill in Korea", I would have been about 9. The Cinema was a little poky and dark as I remember. Paul
 

paul stacey

master brummie
I remember some strange things "Cookie", when going to the News Theatre, while Dad was purchasing the tickets, I would creep up to the two entry doors, which had coloured glass, and looking through would see "Donald Duck", all in red and blue. Magical times for a working class poor boy, whose great Father must have struggled to to have paid out for such outings. Paul
 

Jayell

master brummie
My Dad used to take me to The Tatler sometimes when we were in town. No televisions in those days so it was a treat to see the cartoons and he enjoyed the newsreel. We also went to the News Theatre in High Street at times.
Judy
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Hi Judy,

I hope you are keeping well. Cast your mind back to the coffee bar era. Can you remember one a little to right of the Tatler in this picture? They used to employ a folksy singer/guitar player and when it got busy, people were sitting on the floor. My brother met his first girl friend, Theresa, in there, but I'm darned if I can remember its name.

Regards,

Maurice
 
S

Stitcher

Guest
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Hello Maurice, I could not help with the name of the coffee bar because I never went anywhere in town with my mom other than the markets and the Bull Ring. When I was older I still never frequented that part of town. Lets hope Jayell can remember it.
stitcher.
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
Maurice

In my times of using the city pubs & clubs, the only catering establishment in Station Street I remember passing on the way to headquarters (The Crown) was the Leing Nam restaurant I never used it as I a not a fan of Chinese food, but could the coffee bar you are talking about been a forerunner of the Chinese place in the same premises. This would be the early to late 60's, say 62 to 68.
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Hi Phil,

This would be a couple of years before 1962, maybe even three years. I moved to Dorset in January 1961, so never knew what became of the site, or Theresa for that matter! As we've already got an extensive coffee bar thread, I won't extend this discussion into the cinema thread. Although I am a bit older than Jayell, we both went to many of the same coffee bars, though we never knowingly met. Thanks for your reply, and also yours, Stitcher.

Maurice
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
For a number of years, before it became a Temple, it was The Plaza, a music venue which featured many famous and subsequently famous bands/ groups of the late 50s and 60s.
We used to go to a dance venue called The Plaza in the late 1950s after National Service and outgrowing The Palace and The Carlton in Erdington (The West End was to upmarket for us). What bus ran along Rookery Road? I am trying to recall how we got there. I know i spent many Saturday nights on night service buses after hopefully (even a cup of coffee would have been welcome.),escorting some young belle in her many layered skirt home....to a waiting father and seeing the bus going back to town pass the bottom of the road......only an hour's wait!!! I seem to remember there was a bar downstairs. My abiding memory is of my mates evening companion requesting a double drambuie. Do you know we somehow lost them as we hurried to the bar. But back to the question was this the same place?
 

Jayell

master brummie
Hello Maurice. Hope you are keeping well. Sorry can't help with the name of any coffee bar in Station Street. I do remember the Chinese restaurant that Phil mentioned as I went there once - the first time I'd eaten Chinese food - and it would have been about 1961/62. The coffee bars that I remember are the same ones as you! Judy
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Hello Judy,

Leing Name was my first Chinese experience too - and I liked the food there. This must have been late 1959. I can remember our starter was some sort of crab noodle soup, but I can't remember the main course. I know that we had lychees for desert. I won't give the name of my companion as she still lives in Quinton and one member on here knew her sister! But it was a good evening. Next time I speak to my brother I will ask him if he remembers the name of the coffee bar as he used it regularly.

Maurice
 

Jayell

master brummie
Hello Maurice

I remember my first Chinese experience as it wasn't a good one! I'd just been drinking in Yates Wine Lodge with my boyfriend and we decided to try Leing Name, neither of us having eaten Chinese before. Not knowing what to order, we ordered the first thing on the menu. When the dish was put in front of me it turned my stomach, especially after the port at Yates'! Didn't stay long as you can imagine! :) I'd be interested to know the name of the coffee bar if your brother remembers it.

Judy
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Judy,

Drinking followed by any food you're not familiar with sounds like a recipe for disaster. In Brighton, there's a large Chinese restaurant in Brighton that is used by the Chinese community there and a few yuppy types and hippies who've got money. I went in there some years ago with my eldest son when he lived there, but some of the dishes looked positively revolting and I hadn't even been drinking! Bean curd for one, which reminded me of what the Norwegians call "fish pie". You need a very strong stomach to take that - looks something like a mixture of used chewing gum & yoghurt - I also can't stand the latter.

I speak to my brother about twice a year, so don't hold your breath! :)

Maurice
 

A Sparks

master brummie
We used to go to a dance venue called The Plaza in the late 1950s after National Service and outgrowing The Palace and The Carlton in Erdington (The West End was to upmarket for us). What bus ran along Rookery Road? I am trying to recall how we got there. I know i spent many Saturday nights on night service buses after hopefully (even a cup of coffee would have been welcome.),escorting some young belle in her many layered skirt home....to a waiting father and seeing the bus going back to town pass the bottom of the road......only an hour's wait!!! I seem to remember there was a bar downstairs. My abiding memory is of my mates evening companion requesting a double drambuie. Do you know we somehow lost them as we hurried to the bar. But back to the question was this the same place?

It sounds like it probably was, Rookery Road is on the 11 outer circle route.
I'm assuming you were living in the Erdington area ? - so you would get there by the 11 via Stockland Green, Witton and Perry Barr but I'm not sure there was a night bus service on that route (or not that I can remember in the mid/ late 60s)

.......and yes, there was a bar area downstairs, under the dance floor in the Plaza.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
It sounds like it probably was, Rookery Road is on the 11 outer circle route.
I'm assuming you were living in the Erdington area ? - so you would get there by the 11 via Stockland Green, Witton and Perry Barr but I'm not sure there was a night bus service on that route (or not that I can remember in the mid/ late 60s)

.......and yes, there was a bar area downstairs, under the dance floor in the Plaza.
Yes used to live in Erdington, caught the 5/7 to catch I am sure not the outer circle which I would have picked up at Brookvale Road/Witton, but one of the Soho Road buses unless we then caught the Outer Circle, but then coming home always caught a bus into city and finally the night service home. But thanks for reminding me

Bob
 
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