Archive for November, 2013

Screentrade Magazine Will Have Insights And Maybe A Photo Or Two

November 21, 2013 1 comment

This post is from February 2007.

The Empire Cinema was built just before WW1. In its time it was used for many types of performance, not just film, for example: opera, musicals, school concerts and music hall.

Having been born in 1945 I twice a week walked to the cinema from Unthank Terrace, New Brancepeth, during the years 1952 and 1953.The half a crown that I got from my generous grandparents every Sunday funded two sixpenny performances – with lots of change to spare for ice cream.

The first film might involve a plot in stunning Africa and then later in the week I thrilled at the wagon train threatened by the Apache nation or some other tribe. When the drums stopped it did not look good for the wagon train! My favourite actor was Jimmy Stewart – he was a fine real life war hero as well as an actor.

Looking back I can see that some of the films were blatant propaganda, for example the Red Indians were just fighting to retain land that was rightfully their own. The cavalry [including John Wayne’s character if applicable] were agents of the American state and in the wrong. That of course was too subtle for an eight year old.

In about 1957 the Empire seats were reupholstered. The result was a fine gold colour and really posh.

I always found it difficult to decide whether or not to dash out of the cinema when God save the Queen was played at the end of the performance.Most people did dash out. I think I stayed in my seat for about 75% of the time.I stayed out of some vague respect for the monarchy [all a bit Victorian and Edwardian I suppose].

I do recall, that as an eight year old, I felt that the ‘older’ women that entered the cinema seemed rather tired and wan, despite their careful Saturday make-up. I suppose that was down to their daily responsibilities, lack of a washing machine ,lack of a hoover and a need to be awake all hours to attend to their shift working husband and sons who were coming or going to the mine.

I bet many romances started or were enhanced by the cinema experience. I know that Jack and Doris Easter met at the Empire in the early 1940s. Jack asked whether he could climb over some seats to sit in the last available seat in the cinema. Next to him he found Doris, his future wife.

There is an account of the history of the Ushaw Moor Empire in the Spring 2004 edition of the ‘Screentrade’ magazine. As it would cost seven pounds and fifty pence, including postage and packaging to get it, I have declined to do so. Still I hope we have got by with this article.


Categories: Memories

The Empire Cinema – Photo Request ?

November 20, 2013 2 comments

Anyone got any photos of the Empire Cinema in Ushaw Moor, later known as the Winnings. I managed to get a couple of STILLS off the Harry’s Half Crown Video but are pretty low quality.

Empire Cinema Ushaw Moor – Ushaw Moor Memories PAGE on FB

Empire Cinema - Ushaw Moor - Taken from Harry's Half Crown

Empire Cinema – Ushaw Moor – Taken from Harry’s Half Crown

Empire Cinema - Ushaw Moor from Harry's Half Crown

Empire Cinema – Ushaw Moor from Harry’s Half Crown

Thomas Stephenson Oxley Puzzled Me [But Not For Long] Plus Your School Days

November 11, 2013 1 comment

During a browsing of the brilliant Durham Mining Museum I seemed to stumble across details of a double Ushaw Moor pit tragedy on January the fourteenth 1936, but after a brief pondering I became positive that only one death occurred at the pit that day. The unlucky miner was Thomas Stephenson Collinson not a Thomas Stephenson Oxley. 

The museum records that that Mr Collinson [39] was a coal hewer travelling outbye on a level putting road. He had almost reached a wooden separation door when the door swung back and struck him, fracturing his skull. The door had swung open due to a putter pushing a full tub against it.

It is reasonable to suppose that the recording of the death of Thomas Stephenson Oxley on the same day, also aged 39, is simply an honest mistake. A rare muddle. Same age and same forenames make it too much of a co-incidence.

There was a Bill Oxley working at the pit at the beginning of the 20th century. I know that because the Durham Record Office has him suffering a pit accident on the 12th of May 1902 , but as for Thomas Stephenson Oxley he remains a bit of a mystery.  

Moving on how were your school days? I ask that question because of a recent thoughtful article by Hilary Wilce published in the  I newspaper. She pointed out that:

‘Love and security feed a host of qualities great learners need, including the ability to be open and receptive, to be willing, and to feel connected”.

She also pointed out that that children need resilience, self- discipline, honesty and courage. Were you supplied with sufficient love, support and parental perception to enable you to develop such qualities?    






Categories: Memories

Trying to find a school friend, Patricia Stiles nee Baker – By Jill Rose

November 5, 2013 1 comment

Came across this post on the Community BLOG, hopefully someone may be able to help.

I am trying to find a school friend, Patricia Stiles nee Baker. I have located Sharon McCreesh, who is possibly her daughter, in your town but have no other way to find out if she is. Can you help in any way to verify that Sharon is her daughter? If she is would Sharon be willing to contact me. I’m using my maiden name so Patricia would know who she is talking about.

Thank you for any help you can give me and her schoolmates at Godolphin and Latymer in Hammersmith, London who would love to hear from her.

Jill Rose