From silence to ‘talkies’ at town cinemas

Palais-De-Danse, Worksp
Palais-De-Danse, Worksp

This week’s Archive Corner picture harks back to the days when Worksop had an array of cinemas.

The Palais de Danse, on Newcastle Avenue, was one of them.

Others included the Victoria Palace, Essoldo, The Regal, and the Gaiety Picturedrome.

The Palais de Danse was built around 1920 at a time when going to the pictures was one of the principal forms of entertainment.

With the Essoldo, a billiard hall, and an arcade of shops, Newcastle Avenue was a prime place for going out.

Silent movies were first to grace the screen. A pianist or orchestra was used to provide appropriate accompaniment and for dramatic effect.

Then in 1929 the Picture House on Newcastle Avenue became the first in Worksop to introduce soundtracked films, or ‘talkies’ as they became known.

When it closed, the Palais de Danse became a bingo hall.

Eventually, only the Regal remained. Audiences flocked to the Carlton Road movie house in 1953 when it screened Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in colour.

And the following year Cinemascope was installed there.

But with the advent of television, cinema audiences began to dwindle and it spelled the decline of Worksop’s cinemas.

Despite the doom-mongers though, cinema wasn’t killed off altogether by TV, video or DVDs.

Cinema-going took on a new lease of life with out-of-town multiplexes, although these took audiences away from Worksop.

But eventually the situation has come full circle and we got our own town centre multiplex, the Savoy Cinema, last year, enabling Worksopians to enjoy all the latest movies once more.