Tell Nobody - Not Even Her! - Careless Talk Costs Lives © IWM (Art.IWM PST 13910)

The Picture House Cinema

by Margaret Scott

The picture house opening on 5th November 1912

The new Picture House on Long-Row, Nottingham the latest word in luxurious entertainment was formally opened this afternoon by the Mayoress of the city (Mrs E. Mellor), in the presence of a large number of specially invited guests. First there was a reception, then afternoon tea was served, and finally there was a special programme of excellent pictures, including excerpts from “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, “Trilby”, and “David Garrick”, with some special pictures of Nottingham scenes.

Nottingham picture house
The picture house opening on 5th November 1912.

Though the cafes which are to be opened in conjunction with the theatre are not yet finished, the completion of the Picture House itself justifies its doors being opened to the public, to whom to-night will be offered their first exhibition. The theatre has been built by the Provincial Cinematograph Theatre Ltd., which already possesses similar places of entertainment in a dozen of the principal towns of England, Ireland, and Scotland, and the Nottingham Picture House is declared to be a combination of every device which previous experiments have suggested to provide comfort, luxury, and convenience.

Seating accommodation is provided in the theatre for 600 persons, and the arrangement is that the whole of the floor is given over to sixpenny ticket holders, while the luxury of the balcony will cost a shilling. The entertainment will be continuous from 1 o’clock till 10.30. The arrangement and decoration of the theatre itself are both beautiful and elaborate. The floor rises in tiers, giving unobstructed view for each seat. There is a balcony, arranged like a series of boxes along one side only; the other side of the theatre is handsomely wainscoted in fumed oak surmounted by four or five tapestry panels occupying the entire length of the theatre. The plaster decoration of the lofty domed roof is one of the most striking features of the building, and the whole colour scheme, together with the ingenious system by which a soft glow is diffused over the place without a single direct light being discernible, gives a rich, soft artistic effect.

Moving pictures, as has been shown by the phenomenal success already attained by the Picture Palaces everywhere throughout the country, are amongst the most fascinating forms of entertainment and amusement of the present day, and when they may be enjoyed amidst artistic and luxurious surroundings the pleasure of the time spent there must be enhanced. That the Provincial Cinematograph Theatres Ltd., do not regard the picture entertainment as a mere fleeting craze is evident from the substantial character of their building. No expense has been spared in making both the theatre and the lounge and the cafes modern and attractive, and the cost must be heavy.

Nottingham picture house advert 1918
Advertisement in Nottingham Evening News, November 1918.

Advertisement in Nottingham Evening News, November 1918, unusually the violinist and Pianist received prominent billing. The size of the building and of the orchestra pit can only lead one to believe that the sound produced by the musicians must have been excellent entertainment in their own right as well as an added enjoyment to the films.

Advert for the Octagonal room
Advert for the Octagonal room.

All this week - Historical war picture - With King George in France

This splendid War topical shows the King of England at Ypres, the centre of Germany’s activity; the troops in review before His Majesty and the King of the Belgians; their Majesties inspecting the ruined cities, etc., etc. altogether a picture of rare historical interest.

Showing, also THE BELGIANS IN ACTION, Our gallant ally’s in good work.

The Picture House 15/12/1914

Films of a military nature are accorded pride of place in the excellent programme of Long-row Picture House. In addition to excellent views of the work of the British soldiers, including some fine flying pictures, there is a stirring patriotic drama. “England Expects-,” being a story dealing with the imperious bugle call to arms sounded in a soldier family by the declaration of war by England on Germany. With home and business responsibilities the son of a soldier hesitates to volunteer, and the events leading up to his final decision for “King and Country” are finely portrayed. 1/9/1914

Advert for Defenders of our Empire 1915
Advert for Defenders of our Empire 1915.

Defenders of our Empire

A Magnificent Military Film showing the British Soldier at work in the trenches, on the march, in the firing line, and doing the hundred and one things which soldiers are called upon to do in wartime. Issued with the sanction and approval of the War Office and the Army Council.

The soldiers of the King are shown in this film swinging by in hundreds and thousands to the tune of 'Tipperary.' The series of pictures tells the story of an invasion of these shores by the common enemy, and show in detail the ultimate fate which befel his legions. Special features are the Royal Flying Corps on service, an airship recalled for orders, entrenching, British Army on the move, the attack commences, raiders attempt to destroy barbed wire entanglements, caring for the wounded, Angels of Mercy, the defence hard pressed, Cavalry, and Artillery reinforcements occupy vital points, the raiders are out-manoeuvred. 1/2/1915

Application for an extension to the music licence

“The proprietors of the Picture House, Long-row, applied for an extension of the music licence, as it was desired to open the house an hour earlier on Saturday only. People who came into the centre of the city for shopping purposes had approached the management of the Picture House, and suggested that the performance should be commenced at twelve o’clock instead of one.

The chairman observed that the granting of an extension to one picture house would probably lead to all other similar undertakings making a similar application. Was there any special reason why the extension should be granted to the Long-Row house? Mr Barlow claimed that the cinema shows were a simple form of amusement and that it would not do any harm if the extension were granted to all picture houses in the city”. Their application was granted. 13/2/1914

20,000 GERMAN PRISONERS A Joffre Bite!

Footsore and weary as a result of the resistible and tenacious offensive of our French Allies, 20,000 of the Kaiser's fighting men are in this remarkable picture, seen in the hands of the French Army. Here in a picture of gripping interest is the indisputable proof that General loffre can not only nibble but bite, that the tide is turning in favour of the Allied Armies.

It is a picture that will live in your memory for all time. Leading incidents include: The prisoners marching to the base — A halt in a ruined village —Rations served out to the hungry Huns— A group of captured German Officers — Prisoners entering the barbed wire enclosures.

It is a picture that will do much to strengthen your faith in the ultimate issue. ALSO THE PRIEST OF ISIS (Roman Drama) The Picture House Long Row

News of French progress 20/11/1915

General Joffre was the leader of the French Army at the start of WWI, popular, he was known as “Pappa” Joffre.

He believed in entering battle on the attack, rather than on the defensive and encouraged this attitude in those he led. This is illustrated in the phrase here “A Joffre Bite“.

It is shown at the end of 1915, this optimistic advertisement claims that the picture will show that the tide is turning in favour of the allies, and the film will strengthen your faith in the ultimate issue. So it seems from the tone of the advertisement that a speedy conclusion would be expected.

In spite of this significant achievement and the French Victory at The Battle of Marne, 5-12th Sept. 1914, under his leadership he was replaced in Dec. 1916 as Commander of the French Army.

Put your money in the Nottingham & Notts Tanks.

Dear Sir,
Enclosed paper was picked up by my son when dropped on Forest Fields, although soiled I thought you would be interested, regular reader. If published no name please. (It seems likely it has originally been sent to a newspaper) As she asks for her name not to be printed.

Put your money in the Nottingham & Notts Tanks
Put your money in the Nottingham & Notts Tanks (1918).

Come and see, The Tanks Advance at the front

On Monday you can see the Tanks as our brave soldiers saw them going into action against the enemy, for all good Picture Theatres will be showing the new official film “ THE BATTLE OF THE ANCRE AND THE ADVANCE OF THE TANKS.”

You see the Tanks from their first start to their triumphant return. You see their crews getting them ready for the fray, you watch them creeping from their hiding places, you follow them till they cross the trenches and wander across “No Man’s Land,” you see them crushing down the German wire entanglements, and you welcome them back in triumph to the cheers of the soldiers who surround them. It is a wonderful film of a wonderful subject, a film to which you can take your wife and your children. It is a film that everyone should see. This new film shows every phase of the Great Battle of the Ancre. It enables you to realise what our brave men are going through for our sakes, the terrific artillery duel, its close co-operation with the infantry, who are seen crossing “No Man’s Land” behind the shelter of the “Barrage,” the work of the Red Cross, the sea of mud that covers everything, the ordinary life of the trenches, and the thrilling moment of attack.

It is your duty and your privilege to see it. At all good Picture Theatres

Nottingham picture houses and the flu grip further precautions to be taken (6/11/1918)

The rapid spread of the influenza in Nottingham made it almost inevitable that the question of the entertainment houses would ultimately have to be taken into consideration, although the management have themselves been assiduous in the use of disinfectants and taking precautions generally.

Recently the attention of the Nottingham Corporation was called to the matter by the Local Government Board, among the steps suggested being the closing of places of entertainment. The watch committee, however, after consultation with Mr H Stone, the chairman of the Nottingham branch of the C.E.A., have not thought it advisable to propose the somewhat drastic step of closing the picture houses entirely, but have made certain arrangements which will come into operation on Monday.

Advert for Venos Lightning cough cure
Adverts for Venos Lightning cough cure and Shepperleys Flu cure.
  1. No children under the age of 14 are to be admitted for the present.
  2. No performance is to be held between the hours of five and six p.m. each day, and during that period all the doors and windows are to be opened, in order to get a complete current of air through the building, especially the auditorium.
  3. This is to be repeated for a further period of ten minutes between the hours of eight and nine each evening, so as to keep the building as efficiently ventilated as possible.
  4. Every endeavour to preserve cinema houses in Notts. And Derbyshire from the dangers of infection by the influenza epidemic is being taken by the managers it was reported, at a meeting of the Exhibitors’ Association for the two counties yesterday.

Mr P H Ensor, the secretary, stated that disinfectants were being lavishly used at frequent intervals, care was being taken to ensure that the air was kept perfectly fresh and pure, and in many cases automatic ventilators were still being further improved.

Mr H B Stone said it was a noteworthy fact that the cinema employees remained remarkably free from the prevailing epidemic.

Mr S P Derbyshire, chairman of the London and Provincial Picture House, Limited, said the public should be urged through the cinema if need be, to pay equal attention to the importance of hygiene in their own homes.

This is the second of the three outbreaks of influenza that is being reported on, the outbreak was very infectious and soon turned into pneumonia.

In total influenza killed more people worldwide than had died in conflict during the First World War.

1918 AMERICAN FILMS - “LEST WE FORGET” - Remarkable film show in Nottingham

Germany’s crimes against humanity in this war can never be forgotten by those who have seen and know. Duly chronicled, the stories of Hunnish infamy have been trumpeted to the ends of the earth, for all the world to know what the name of Germany stands for, and America is seeing to it that the cinema plays its part in keeping the fires of recollection burning.

New York Times article on the sinking of the Lusitania (1915)
New York Times article on the sinking of the Lusitania (1915).

Ambassador Gerrard’s great film is now followed by “Lest We Forget”, which the Ideal Company showed privately to-day at the Long-row Picture House, Nottingham. Even apart from the purpose for which it was designed, and which it serves to perfection, the film is wonderful. It is typical of the vast resources of the American picture producer.

The poignant episodes which attended the Belgian evacuation, the display of German arrogance and ruthlessness, the war, on land, on sea, and in the air, bits of actual realism ingeniously dovetailed into “staged” scenes-and the methods of the master-spy, are all presented with entire conviction. The climax is reached with the torpedoing of the Lusitania, of which the attendant incidents, both before and after the explosion, are shown with a wealth of detail which is remarkable. The scenes of confusion on board, the struggling throngs in the water, the mass of floating litter, and the frenzied attempts to reach the boats, are depicted with an effect of actuality that grips the onlooker. The chief part is enacted by Rita Jolivet, the French actress, who was one of the Lusitania survivors.

© Margaret Scott 2017


  1. Main Image: Tell Nobody - Not Even Her! - Careless Talk Costs Lives © IWM (Art.IWM PST 13910)
  2. Angel Row Library Local Studies Department provided - Nottingham Evening News, Nottingham Evening Post, Picture House programme and the Letter and Disc.
  3. New York Times provided the picture of the Lusitania.
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