Cinema, Chippenham.

For four years after I left school I worked as a "vanboy" for a linen hire firm. It was the only job I ever liked and gave me a false impression of what working life was like. Every job since then has suffered from the comparison with this first one.

Every Monday we parked in the little drive-in forecourt of this cinema in Chippenham to deliver its hand towels. For the life of me I can't remember what it was called, but a wheelie-bin on the pavement when I took this photo had "Astoria" daubed on its side in crude painted letters.

There is still a cinema here although I doubt that it occupies the whole building.

  • Rienk Mebius PRO 8y
    If this is Marshfield Road the cinema is the Astoria indeed.
    Never been there but googled.
    See also:
    a beautiful photo from the '30s.
  • Moxette PRO 8y

    Sad that it's come to this because it looks as if it would have been a fine building in its heyday. There was a wonderful old cinema at the top of the road near here that was demolished last year. It was a great shame.

    Hope all is well with you, Stephen.
  • The Limbo Connection PRO 6y

    It was the Astoria, and may indeed be the Astoria again, but in between it was Studio One and the film show was confined to the (converted) Circle. The stalls were converted to bingo, and the specification for the new floor scrimped on the soundproofing materials, with the bingo intruding into the film particularly at moments of high emotion (in the bingo, not the film). When it was a proper cinema, and when pubs closed at 10.30 pm, it was touch and go whether, after the film, you could make it up New Road to the Little George in time for a pint.
  • raymond.l.watts 4y

    I worked at the Astoria cinema in it's heyday as a junior projectionist
    around 1960, a full size 'proper' cinema it was then with seating for over
    1000 people. Lot's of memories from those days. If the masking got stuck
    when opening to show a CinemaScope picture it was my job to race down the
    many stairs to go backstage and hand crank the masking out to the
    CinemaScope position. Of course smoking was allowed and on occasions became
    so thick it gave the picture a yellow look as the projector beam tried to
    cut through the smoke. A great cinema which I understand is being renovated
    and brought up to date with the latest digital projectors. I only hope they
    spend some money on cleaning the outside stonework to bring it back to that
    almost white building it used to be. A photo of how it looked when opened in 1930 can be found at this link.

    If anyone worked there around that time I would love to hear from them.
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Uploaded on May 19, 2007
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