'It must've been the most
outstanding building in the town during the twenties. It had potted
palms, beautiful ceilings and even chandeliers I think. It was a real
shame when they pulled it down. I was only a little girl but I went to
see the first talkie there, I think it was Al Jolson.'
'I went to the Agricultural Hall to see the first talking
film. I remember there was ever such a queue waiting outside. It was
that film with Al Jolson in. I think it was called the Jazz Singer or
something like that. Anyway it caused mayhem in the town because it was
the first talking film. My dad took me and we had to wait outside the
cinema for a long time.'
'The Agricultural Hall was one place I'// never
forget because it was so large and really posh. It had fountains and
chandeliers. It wasn't really a cinema though, they would never call a
cinema the Agricultural Hall would they?'
'When the Hall came down and was replaced by the Gaumont it was one
of the silliest things they did in the town because the Hall was so
beautiful and was something the town could be proud of, still that's
typical of this town and the Council. Look at all the silly mistakes
they've made since then.'
'I went into all the best cinemas in the town and the
Hall had by far the best and most comfortable seats and you really felt
important in the Hall because of the surroundings.'
'My mom would often tell me how nice it was to go into the
Agricultural Hall because it was so big and so posh inside. She said you
always felt like a real lady in the Agricultural Hall.'
'I've seen photos of the inside of the Agricultural Hall and it
really looks a very impressive building with chandeliers, mahogany wall
panels and fountains. In fact, the building which replaced it, the
Gaumont, was the first cinema I ever went into and I thought that was
something extraordinary, so if the Hall was better, it must have been
out of this world for somewhere like Wolverhampton.'
'When the Gaumont first opened, it must have been about 1933 or so, I
went to one of the first films there with my dad and mom. I can't
remember the name but I think it had Greta Garbo in. My dad really loved
her. I remember thinking how big and posh it was. There was a doorman in
a uniform on the front doors. Those doors were just on the bend into
Snow Hill but the building went all round the comer. I suppose it must
have been where the Wilkinson Stores are now. I don't go into town very
often now and I never go to the pictures.'
'I started going to the Gaumont first of all
when I was about ten years old, so it would've been about 1936. I went
there virtually every week after that until I was about forty or so.
When I say every week, that's exactly what I mean. I very seldom missed
a film show at the Gaumont and it was one of the saddest days of my life
when the cinema closed. I went to the very last film show at the
Gaumont. It was Singing In The Rain with Gene Kelly and a film with
Mario Lanza I think. I remember Singing In The Rain because it's my very
favourite film of all time. It was quite a sad night and do you know I
felt really guilty because I had stopped going to the cinema myself for
a few years before it closed. Still, there must've been
loads of people in the town who never went to the Gaumont so perhaps it
was their fault more than mine.'
'The Gaumont opened in the thirties when I was just a girl,
so to me it was THE cinema in the town. I went very often and I always
felt that it was one establishment which was that bit better than any of
the other cinemas in the town. It was more comfortable, bigger, better
decorated and more friendly than the others. It was the place I did most
of my courting.'
'To my mind the Gaumont was the only real cinema in the town, or at
least the only one worth going to.'
'There was a lovely organ at the Gaumont which
used to come up out of the floor before the start of the film or in the
interval. It had a beautiful sound. It's one of those sounds you never
'We always thought the seats at the bigger flicks were the best in
the town and the Gaumont was the best of the bigger flicks. It was
bigger, better to look at, more comfortable and probably had the best
'The Gaumont had marvellous decoration, beautiful ceilings and
fantastic architecture. You don't get anything like that nowadays.'
'There was a cafe at the Gaumont and it was really nice. I would
often go into the cinema for the cafe and not always to see the film.
They treated you really well and you genuinely felt that you were cared
'The Gaumont showed most of the best films of the current releases.
They had the best of the American films from hollywood and to be honest
I was only interested in films from hollywood, and colour films in
particular. That's probably why I went so often to the Gaumont rather
than one of the other picture houses in the town.'
'You always went to the Gaumont if you'd got a boyfriend and he was
going to pay. It was a sort of test to see just how serious he was. My
husband was one of the blokes who passed that test, I'm glad to say.'
'There was one thing about the town centre in the war, it was always
alive with plenty of cinemas to go to. You had a very wide choice, but
to me there was only really the Gaumont worth going to.'
'If you made a date with a girl, we always used to say 'Meet you
outside the Gaumont' because it was the one cinema where you could stand
some distance away, behind the library wall in Old Hall Street and keep
an eye on the queue. If she turned up and didn't look too good, you
could get away without being seen. When I say that now it sounds really
terrible but at the time it seemed sensible.'
'Saturday matinees at the
Gaumont were great. You queued up outside and then went dashing in to
get a good seat. The usherettes used to make sure there was no trouble
and if they told you off, you did exactly as you were told otherwise
you'd be out on your ear.'
'We got a good film and a really good serial, often
Flash Gordon or one about the jungle. It used to set you up for the week
and when I got back to school at St Michael's on Snow Hill, most of the
other kids had been to the Gaumont as well.'
'I don't care which other cinema in the town you care to talk about,
not one of them compares with the Gaumont for comfort, splendour and
service. It was a real pleasure to go there for the evening and 1, for
one, really miss it. It's part of a bygone day, never to return, more's