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The Globe Cinema, Lawrence Hill, Bristol | by brizzle born and bred
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The Globe Cinema, Lawrence Hill, Bristol

Memories of Bristol Cinema


The former Globe cinema Lawrence Hill Bristol BS5.


A young audience waits to gain admission, probably to a children's matinee at the Globe, Lawrence Hill in the early 1930s - A covered queuing area kept prospective customers dry.


The Globe. Church Road, Lawrence Hill, 1914-1973


In order to build the Globe, a few houses in Jane Street and two shops on Church Road were demolished. It was built and owned by Joseph Pugsley, who also owned the scrapyard at the rear of the cinema. He was blind, so couldn't watch the films; his eldest son George made all the arrangements for him, under his supervision.


The Globe opened on 26 March 1914. The programme for the opening day promised 'an all-star programme including one of the most sensational films ever produced'.The film was The Baboon's Vengeance of The Conscience of the Great Unknown, 'exclusive to this hall for 3 days only'. The programme also stated that'the Globe orchestra will render music appropriate to each picture'.The cinema had an eight- or nine-piece orchestra but for matinees only the piano was used. It was usually played by Elsie Holland, who had once played for Randolph Sutton.


The Globe could seat 1,172 people. On both sides of the auditorium were murals showing scenes from the Great Fire of London. Over the years, nicotine stained these pictures and made them difficult to see.There was a small lavatory inside for ladies, and an outside one for gentlemen.There was a covered queuing area in Jane Street.


During the First World War, the manager, Mr John, was called up. On his return, staff and locals put up banners saying 'Welcome home, Mr John'. There was no first-name familiarity in those days.


In June 1916, a touch of Hollywood came to the Globe when Miss Lillian Lorraine, star of the silent film The Girl of Lost Island, paid a visit. Special publicity cards were printed, and there were huge crowds outside.


The Globe showed its last silent film on Saturday 23 November 1929 and opened as a talkie cinema on Monday 25 November. The orchestra members were no longer required.The first talkie shown was a very primitive version of Showboat, not to be confused with the 1936 version. The cinema's takings doubled. In the week ending 8 February 1930, 15,024 people came to see The Desert Song; the total money taken was £800.


Joseph Pugsley died just before the advent of the talkies. Oliver Pugsley took over the cinema and George took over the scrap-metal business. By that time, the Pugsleys also ran the Queen's and St George's Hall picture houses.


Advertising was always a problem at the Globe because there were so many competitors. In 1933, when The Invisible Man was showing, the manager needed a gimmick. He put a fish tank in the foyer, filled it with water but didn't put any fish in it. He put a sign on the tank which read 'Come and see the invisible fish'. Word got around and people came just to see this fish tank. The staff were amazed when people actually asked where the invisible fish were!


Just before the Second World War, the cinema was given a revamp. The very ornate pillars disappeared, and the building lost its character. The doors now came out almost to the pavement and new seats were fitted.


Jack E.Wyard was the manager there for many years. He had started as a projectionist at the nearby Granada. He was always very well dressed and expected his staff to look smart too. The cinema was his life.


Things went downhill during the 1950s and early 1960s, as people moved away from the district. There were also problems with gangs of youths; the manager was stabbed on one occasion as he tried to avert trouble. In its last days, Goldfinger and Hang 'em High together brought in only 708 people, with takings of just £260.60.The last film shown at the Globe was Walt Disney's Aristocats on 6 January 1973.


The cinema was demolished to make way for City Motors.

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Taken on December 1, 2007