For this Bank Holiday Monday I was joined once more by MR RAYLEIGH himself, Mike Davies, chairman of the Rayleigh Town Museum who took us to the “flics” as the early cinemas were known.
The first cinema in Rayleigh opened in April 1914 and in spite of being housed in a marquee, launched under the somewhat grand name of “The Rayleigh Bellingham Hall Cinema.”
After returning safely from the trenches in the first world war, Bert Thomas, a signwriter and Ernest Clayton, a local estate agent, conceived the idea of a proper cinema in Rayleigh and so rented a building which had formed part of Miss Coller’s School for Young Ladies in Bellingham Lane.
The hall housing the cinema was 60 feet long and 24 feet wide. They installed a cafe and, using rear projection from behind the screen and piano accompaniment they showed black and white silent films from 1925.
Shortly thereafter it morphed into the Rayleigh Cinema and then following the installation of sound equipment, the Cosy Talkie Theatre.
By 1945 it had become a part of a larger organisation and after several ownership changes CinemaScope was installed in 1955.
But local man, RON STEWART has become synonymous with the local cinema, after at age 15, he started out as tea boy and trainee projectionist in what by this time had become THE REGAL cinema.
He went on to become manager in 1968 although sadly the cinema was eventually closed and demolished in 1973.
It goes without saying that Mike has managed to get his hands on one of the original projectors which now has pride of place at the museum.
Listen here to what Mike had to say about cinema in Rayleigh: –
In the second hour we reported on the hotel in Nashville that truly “sucks”.
Earlier this year, Peter Brennan, from Texas, was staying overnight at the Hilton Downtown Nashville hotel whilst attending a work conference.
At 5am he was more than a little surprised to have his sleep disturbed when the night manager, DAVID NEALE, who’d cloned a key card, let himself into the room and began sucking his toes.
Could have been worse, I guess!
Night manager, Neale later claimed that he’d entered the room because he thought he could smell smoke, although no one else had reported anything amiss that night.
Somewhat implausible, but worth a try I guess!
Notwithstanding this he was subsequently arrested at his home and charged with aggravated burglary and assault.
A Hilton spokesman said: ‘Hilton Nashville Downtown is independently owned and operated by a third party and no Hilton entity employs staff at this property.”
A quick out from under, there then!
‘The safety and security of our guests is our top priority and Hilton takes matters such as these very seriously.’
Hope to catch you again tomorrow,