'It was small and friendly and you felt you knew everyone,
especially if you went regularly, and that everyone cared for the
customers who came to the cinema. It was probably the friendliest cinema
I ever went to and I went to most of the local cinemas at one time or
'The Penn wasn't as grand as the other town cinemas but it was very
comfortable and I would say it was probably more homely than all the
others. It was a genuine local cinema'
'I think the vast majority of the clientele at the Penn was local and
probably lived close enough to walk to the cinema, I know we used to.
After all, the vast majority of people were car less in the fifties and
most of the sixties.'
'My mother actually worked at the Penn as an usherette. She took the
ice creams down at the interval. She wore a uniform but I can't remember
the colour, how strange.'
'The Penn had quite a big foyer and it had a
cloakroom so you didn't have to sit with your wet coat or mac on your
lap. I think it was probably the only cinema in the town with a
'One of my friends who had obviously never been to the Penn called it
a flea pit once when we were out having a drink and talking about
cinemas. I remember getting really shirty about that because my mother
had worked there and I had gone loads of times and there was no way you
call it anything like a flea pit. It was comfortable and most welcoming.
My idea of a flea pit was the Olympia or the Coliseum, never the Penn.'
'Most of the kids off the Warstones estate must
have gone to the Penn at some time or other on a Saturday morning. The
matinees were really good and the people who ran things there were
'When the Warstones estate was first built the Penn had a
captive audience and must have enjoyed very good times, at least
financially. I would say the cinema was one way in which the community
was brought together.'
'You always felt the Penn was the local cinema for Warstones and
Penn. This was really brought home when you went to the cinema and saw
people from the area in the audience. I bet a fair number of the locals
did all their courting at the Penn.'
'Most of the people who went to the Penn must have walked there
because most of them came from within the locality. It might have been
one of the reasons that the cinema stayed open that bit longer than some
of the other local places.'
'Upstairs at the Penn was best. It was more
comfortable than downstairs. I only ever went upstairs to watch some of
the better, films like South Pacific. They used to show many of those
sort of films years after they had been on general release.'
'The best part of the Penn was that you could catch up on some of the
really good quality older films like King and I, Ben Hur, West Side
Story and not have to wait in a long queue.'
'The thing I best remember about the Penn was that the car park was
very large and so you could find a parking space really easily. This
meant that quite a number of people from outside the area went to the
Penn. It's probably the same car park that Somerfield Supermarket now
'When we started going to the Penn it was towards the end of its time
but it was a really homely place. It was the first place I ever got tea
or coffee when I went to the cinema. We used to go for the drinks in the
'If I was taken to the Penn by a chap I really felt he was keen since
but it always seemed quite a smart place and never a flea pit. The chap
would go right up in my estimation.'
'I remember the uproar that went on when they said that the Penn was
going to close. I went to one of the protest meetings but as you know,
it made no difference.'
'The Penn should never have closed. It served a
locality and a community and met all the demands of the community in
terms of films and entertainment. I bet if it had stayed open it would
still have a good audience. Still, it's too late now.'
'The Penn must have been one of the better of the local cinemas. It
showed good quality films, had comfortable seats and had a very nice
'When I first started to go to the Clifton at Fallings Park it was a
new cinema and it had nice upholstery and really good acoustics. It must
have been one of the best of the cinemas in the area, or at least
outside the centre of town, at that time.'
'The Clifton at
Fallings Park was my local cinema and I went very often with my mother
and father to see all sorts of films from a very early age. We would
walk to it down Raynor Road. We always went upstairs, I don't know why.'
'The Clifton was the local cinema for Low Hill and so many of us
would go to the same films that it would become the sole topic of
conversation at school and even amongst our parents.'
'Low Hill people regarded the Clifton as their cinema and it's
strange how whatever was on at the local Clifton was what so many of us
talked about when we met each other. If you were told the film was good
by your mates you would go, if you were told it was rubbish you wouldn't
go. It was as simple as that.'
'We had to queue so often at the Clifton. The queue would start
outside the front doors and go all along the Cannock Road side of the
cinema. That was the side where the posters were which told you what was
on. Remember the Clifton changed its programme on a Thursday and would
show another film on the Sunday just for one day. They had stills on the
front walls as well if I remember rightly.'
'Saturday mornings were always spent at the
Clifton. The matinee there was really great and there was so many kids.
You'd go on the 46 bus from Underhill and it was always full of kids and
the queue would often go all along Cannock Road, right up to Park Lane.
It was marvellous fun.'
'The twopenny queue was what we called it. It was the queue that all
my mates stood in. If you got there late on a Saturday morning, there'd
always be someone who kept you a place. Mind you, if someone else
thought you were queue jumping, there would be real trouble. I've been
at the back of that queue many times though. We used to sing Roll Out
the Barrel before the film show started. We bought our sweets from a
shop in Raynor Road. During the school holidays we'd go to the flicks
very often. We'd nip out of the side door and buy some sweets and then
nip back because one of our friends would keep the door open.'
'There was the twopenny crush on a Saturday
morning at the Clifton, mind you if you were posh, you paid fourpence.
OId money that is.'
'I worked at the Ever Ready and often the girls would get
together at night and go to the Clifton to see the film that was on at
the time. It was a good night out and if you met some chaps at the
cinema, all the better.'
'We used to go two or three times to the Clifton straight from
work. We both worked at Henry Meadows so it was easy to get there. It
was just a matter of walking up the Cannock Road and you were at the
Clifton. We mainly went on a Monday and a Friday to the pictures. It was
a different film on those evenings because the film changed on a
'At the Clifton there were big bill posters
which told you what was on and what was coming as a future attraction. I
can remember when I passed the Clifton on the 46 bus or the 13 trolley
bus I would often make a mental note of what was coming on and decide
which night I was going to go to the flicks. I reckon I must've gone at
least once a week throughout the fifties. That was true for many of my
mates from Underhill as well.'
'When I used to go to the Clifton in the early fifties it was
probably about Is 6d downstairs, Is 9d upstairs at the back and about 2s
3d at the front upstairs. I don't remember going in the dearer seats
'It was really noisy sometimes at the Clifton when loads of people
were coming in because there was no carpet on the one part of the floor
'The Clifton was half moon shaped inside and it always seemed very
big. It was probably my age, so everything seemed big to me.'
'I got turfed out more than once on a Saturday
morning by the Commissionaire at the Clifton. I was trying to remember
his name but that's one of the results of getting older, I forget so
many things theses days.'
'One film I remember seeing at the Clifton was Can Can which was the
last film at the cinema. It had Frank Sinatra in it. It was a special
occasion because I remember there being a big cake which was brought on
to the stage. It must have been just a few days after that the picture
house was torn down. It didn't take long before the whole site was
flattened. It was pretty sad because I reckon there could not have been
a person living on Low Hill or the Scotlands who hadn't been at sometime
at the Clifton to see a film. I bet hardly any of them went to the town
cinemas during the fifties.'
'The Clifton was torn down by some property company and none of us
liked the idea but as usual there was nothing you could do. They built
the Fine Fare and I suppose loads of people went to do their shopping
there but there were other shops, not another cinema.'