'I went to the Light House very
recently and it was more like the old style cinemas than those
multi-screen places. It was much smaller but it had much more of the
homeliness of the old cinemas. It was quite comfortable and you felt
like a member of a small community. At the Showcase or those other
places you feel like a number.'
It's a real pity that the Light House is the only cinema in the town.
It started a few years ago didn't it but I never thought they had films
on which I would like, so I never went.'
'The Light House is one place I've never been to. That's because I
never go into town nowadays at my age and because I didn't think it
showed the sort of films I would like. I don't think anywhere shows
those sorts of films anyway.'
'I've passed the Light House loads of times on the bus going into
town but it wasn't until you told me that it was a cinema that I even
realised that. That's pretty sad really but I reckon that's why so few
people go there, especially of my generation.'
'I went to it with my grand children recently and I
thought what a really nice little place it was. We had a pizza before
the film and the children took in those enormous containers of popcorn.'
'It's got to be the nearest thing for miles to an old style cinema.
It would be a great shame' if they opened one of those big places with
loads of screens and killed off the Light House.'
'When I went to that part of town I couldn't believe how much it had
changed, with the Light House and all those bars right next door to each
other. It's a wonder they all manage to stay open. Perhaps they won't.'
'I saw a film at the Light House for the first time just
before the school holidays. I went with my grandson to see one of those
big Disney films. It was quite exciting really because I haven't been to
the cinema for about thirty years.'
'It would be a really good idea if the Light House offered people of
our age the chance to go to see some of the really great old films and
so save us having to keep relying on the telly or video. I would love to
go to the cinema in town and see a film like Gone With The Wind or
Singing In The Rain. If they build a multiplex that might be one way
that the Light House could survive.'
'I doubt if there's many people
still alive who remember the old Ideal in Rookery Street. You used to
sit at the back and you could hear the horses go past. Whenever we had a
sing song there the ball used to bounce along the screen and follow the
words for you to sing along with.'
'The Ideal was more often called the Smack. The
reason was supposed to be something to do with the fleas which you
smacked as they itched on your body. I don't know how true that was.'
'It's not very easy to remember that much about the Smack or the
Ideal because it must be about fifty years ago that it closed, if not
longer. Still, it was the very first picture house I ever went to and it
was right by the canal. The front of the pictures was by the canal and
the screen was by the road. They turned it around later. If you go down
the Wednesfield Road now you need to look for the carpet place and
that's where the Smack was.'
'You talk about local cinemas and that is exactly what the Regal was.
It was for us in Wednesfield. If you went, there you always saw loads of
people from the village. When they decided to close the Regal I think it
was just another example of the end of Wednesfield as a separate place.
Now it's just another part of Wolverhampton.'
'The Regal used to stand on the corner where the supermarket is
nowadays. It was an impressive building. It took up the whole corner and
when you went inside you went into a really nice foyer, if quite small.
I used to go about once a week and I think I must've seen some of the
best films ever made at the Regal. They were usually shown at the Regal
after they'd been to other cinemas in town. Because it was Wednesfield's
Cinema you never bothered about whether it was on in town because you
felt part of the village not the big town.'
'Wednesfield had its own cinema in the Regal and so it was part of
the community. When you went to the cinema you were part of the
community's life. They never realised such things when they decided to
pull it down. That was vandalism.'
'I used to go to the Saturday matinee at the
Regal, as did most of my friends. I suppose it was the same as any other
matinee but it seemed that bit different because it was in the village
and there were no other cinemas with matinees on at the same time. When
we came out we'd play out the scenes from the matinee when we got home.
We probably carried on at school on the Monday as well.'
'I think the Regal was as nice as any of the big cinemas in
the centre of Wolverhampton. The screen, sound, seats and decor was
equal to any establishment. What really mattered to me was that the
regal was near home and I could walk up from Amos Lane any time to see
the films. I didn't even have to catch a bus.'
'When you are young you think
everywhere is really big and that's how I remembered the Regal as the
biggest building in the centre of the village. But if I now think about
it, it was probably not that big at all.'
'I loved to go to the local flicks so the Regal was almost like a
second home to me. It had the best films come some time after their
release and because it was local you felt that all the people who worked
there and went to see the films there were from Wednesfield as well.'
'The two cinemas I went to most were the Regal and the Clifton at
Fallings Park. They both must have closed very soon after each other
because it was as though I lost the two places I most loved at the same
time, perhaps I'm dreadfully wrong.'
'If anyone asks me which cinema I miss most, it's always the Regal
because it was the only one worth going to near Wednesfield. I went to
the matinees there, I did my courting there and I even went to the Regal
with my grand children when they were very small. It must have been easy
thirty years ago.'
'Sometimes when I go in the Solo I think about the old Regal and I
must admit I'd rather have the cinema back than the supermarket. After
all, there's other supermarkets. Mind you, aren't they going to build a
new cinema by the Co-Op. it won't be quite as homely as the Regal but at
least it will be a cinema.'
'The Alhambra did not have that much of a frontage, it was almost
like another shop front on the High Street. I remember seeing old man
Wood at the Alhambra, well at least his son. I think he was Mayor of
Bilston some time or other. The cinema was OK inside but I don't really
think it compared to the other cinema in the town.'
'The Alhambra was quite small but very homely.
If you went there you were always made to feel welcome by the staff. It
belonged to the Woods family I think. They were big noises in Bilston.
They owned the other cinema as well.'
'It was the sort of cinema that you would expect in
Bilston. It was small and very welcoming to the customers. I think there
could never have been many on the staff there. You felt it was all done
by the same people.'
'I went to the Alhambra most of the cinemas in the town and
of course in those days Bilston was a separate town, not part of
Wolverhampton. As a result of that, whenever you went to the cinema you
felt everybody in the place was from Bilston, like you. But, like
everything else in the town, it closed down.'
'I'm sure there were
two cinemas in the High Street years ago. They were opposite each other.
The Alhambra was the older place I think and I only went there once or
twice. It stayed open longer than the other one in the High Street
'The Alhambra was my own favourite. I don't
know why but it always felt small and comfortable. It had a posh name as
well. Years later we went on holiday to Spain and I saw the real
Alhambra. It was a bit bigger and posher than the Bilston cinema.'
'I went to all the cinemas in the town of Wolverhampton
and not one of them compared to the Palace that the Woods had built in
Lichfield Street. It was a theatre more than a cinema and a pretty fine
theatre at that. It was the first place I ever went to see the films. I
can't remember the first film I saw but the image of the place stuck
with me. Every time I went to any other cinema in the area I would
compare it to the Palace and find it wanting.'
'If there's one place in the town they must never pull down it's the
Palace or the Odeon on Lichfield Street. When it was built my dad told
me it was the best place in the Midlands to go and see a film. It was
one way in which the Wood family showed the people of Bilston how much
they cared about them. It was built according to dad to show the people
in Wolverhampton that they didn't have everything.'
'Wood's Palace is how I always remember that place. It was called
that because the Woods built it. I never met any of the Woods but their
picture house was something special. It reminded me of one of those
large theatres. It had an orchestra pit and really beautiful ceilings.
I've been to the Bingo there in the past and you can still see a lot of
the original building.'
'Lichfield Street wasn't really a very good
place to build the cinema because it was a main road and anyone
travelling into the town from either direction would find it difficult
to get in.'
'It's a social club now isn't it?. That seems a real shame when you
consider that it must have been one of the most outstanding of cinemas
at the time it was built and for years later. I bet the Woods would turn
in their graves to know that.'
'It was a Bingo Club when I went there. I never went to the pictures
there but if the building is anything to go by, it must have been one
hell of a cinema.'
'You know I went to the last film show at the Palace, or was
it the Odeon then? anyway, the last film had Peter Sellers in it and he
played a vicar I think. It was quite sad for me and the rest of Bilston
because it was like part of your own and the town's past was dying. It
was just like when the Steel Works closed.'
'It stood almost opposite the Alhambra I think.
It was a small place and I don't think it was ever as popular as the
other Bilston cinemas. It stood near where the Tesco is I think. It's
funny isn't it but so many of the old cinemas either became Bingo Halls
'I went to the Savoy in Bilston quite often. If you say the Savoy to
anyone they think of the one in Wolverhampton but I never think of that
one, it's always the Bilston one. It was quite small. It looked a bit
like the Alhambra on the outside but I think it was much nicer inside.
It showed a lot of very good films and most nights when I went, it was
'If there was one picture house in Bilston that I remember it's the
Savoy. The audience were always happy and the standard of films was
pretty high. Probably not as good as the Palace but still pretty good
for a small place like Bilston. Remember Bilston had about three or four
'The Savoy went the same way as all the others. It closed and with
it's closure another nail in the coffin of Bilston as a separate little
town went. It's a great shame that some of those planners don't actually
live in the places they destroy.'