Thomas Dugdale, Audio Clip

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Thomas Dugdale (TD) was interviewed many times by W.R. Mitchell (WRM). In this segment Tommy discusses the early cinema in Settle.


WRM: What do you remember about the pictures in Settle?

TD: Well, the first ones were in what were called the Assembly Rooms, which was eventually became Bartondale...

WRM: Is that off Bishopdale Court?

TD: Yes, at the back of there. I remember the gas engine in there that ran the projector and a fella called Tanny Jerome had it.

WRM: Who?

TD: Tanny Jerome.

WRM: Tanny?

TD: Yes, a German chappie. His sister went to live at Long Preston eventually.

WRM: T-A-N-N-Y would that be? Was it a nickname?

TD: A nickname, yes.

WRM: And Jerome, J-E-R-O-M-E?

TD: Possibly, yeah. Now he was a German. Now of course there were no talkies, and he had the cinema where the bookshop is now.

WRM: Speight & Watson’s?

TD: No, it was called the Assembly Rooms, where Bartondale was, where Knights sell shoes.

WRM: Oh, yes.

TD: In there was the cinema, and I’m certain I went to it. But I remember the gas engine being in there, and then John Graham (who was a comedian who had been on the music hall) he came up and started the cinema in the Victoria Hall, and that put Tanny out of business.

WRM: When did he start roughly?

TD: In the early ’20s, I would have thought. I mean, there are all sorts of things I could tell you that perhaps shouldn’t be on tape really.

WRM: Oh, no, you’d better not mention them then.

TD: But he got in trouble with the Excise people, and he got into problems, and so Arthur [unclear 00:23:14] and they took his license of John, [unclear 00:23:23] so John persuaded Arthur to take over the cinema instead of working as a clerk, and so Arthur took over. Well, all sorts of regulations came in with one thing and another and they needed all sorts of guards and things, and his father had a sheet metal shop and so they got him to make these guards to the required standard for a license, but strange as it may seem they couldn’t afford to pay for this stuff so they gave him a big roll like that of cinema tickets and he’d had to pinch one off when he went to the cinema. It cost him nothing! [Laughs]

WRM: Was that still in the Victoria Hall?

TD: That was in the Victoria Hall.

WRM: When did he build the New Vic?

TD: Well, it was sometime before the war.

WRM: Was it in the late 1930s?

TD: Yes.

WRM: That would be the last word, wouldn’t it?

TD: Oh that was absolutely fantastic, wonderful; a marvellous cinema.

WRM: What used to stand there before the cinema was built?

TD: Well, the owners intended as a guest house or temperance place or something.

WRM: That was actually demolished was it, and the cinema built?

TD: Yes. Oh, there were plenty of folk made a fuss about it.

WRM: Were there?

TD: Yes. But Arthur of course...

WRM: And Mrs Graham of course is the widow?

TD: Yes, that’s right. And he went into cinemas in a big way. They had one at Kirkby, Ingleton, Pateley Bridge, Sedbergh, Settle... and of course they used to get quite good films and they used to go all round. Harold Smith was the projectionist for Arthur at the Victoria Hall, and then the talkies came in and Harold was very, very good but I don’t think pay was so good so he came to work for me.