A rural area like ours had its disadvantages in the past, when few people possessed motor cars. Theatre and cinema going to Birmingham or Learnington would have been a rare event. Stratford and Redditch were the nearest centres but still far enough away to make playgoing and cinemagoing something out of the ordinary. The area had, however, a couple of picturehouses, situated in the two largest settlements, viz. Studley and Alcester. The trade directories of the 1930s mention 'Alcester Picture House' in the High Street and Studley's 'Imperial Pictures' in the 'Cinematograph Hall'. Bidford on Avon, apparently, had no regular cinema,
The Alcester cinema began in l924, when the Corn Exchange was turned to that purpose. It eventually took the title of 'The Regent' but is not called that in directories before the war. The building celebrated its centenary in 1957 by installing a Cinemascope screen and changing its programmes every two days. But it soon became a victim of the television age, closing in May, l961.
As for Studley, our information is limited to what the directories tell us. We do not know where 'Cinematograph Hall' was nor when the 'Imperial Pictures' started and ceased. Some information from older Studley readers about these things would be most welcome: indeed, any interesting remembrances about the Alcester Picture House would also be valuable. It may be that other villages had 'cinematograph halls' or occasional film shows the sort of things which never got into the directories. Any information can best come from those who lived in our area before World War II please help us to fill in the gaps
Rural Cinemas - Studley
Autumn 1990 Index
© Alcester & District Local History Society 1990