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Cinema City project reels in memories of the silver screen

PUBLISHED: 08:24 28 November 2014

Norfolk at the Pictures. Pictured: Theatre de Luxe. Picture: Ian Clarke

Norfolk at the Pictures. Pictured: Theatre de Luxe. Picture: Ian Clarke

Ian Clarke

The call was made for readers to share memories of Norfolk’s cinema past – and you did not disappoint.

Norfolk at the Pictures. Pictured: Diss Picture House opening week programme 1934. Picture: Diss Museum/Basil AbbottNorfolk at the Pictures. Pictured: Diss Picture House opening week programme 1934. Picture: Diss Museum/Basil Abbott

Norfolk at the Pictures is a £700,000 project by film education charity Cinema Plus, the education arm of Norfolk and Norwich Film Theatre which founded Cinema City.

Staff there are on a drive to involve cinema-goers in a special line-up of events and activities to capture the history of film-loving in the county.

Memories from across Norfolk were sent to the cinema on St Andrew’s Street for researchers to wade through and help complete the heritage jigsaw.

And Norfolk at the Pictures’ project activities co-ordinator Marc Atkinson, 37, praised what has been received so far.

Norfolk at the Pictures. Pictured: The Regal Cinema, Holt 1969. Picture: John JarvisNorfolk at the Pictures. Pictured: The Regal Cinema, Holt 1969. Picture: John Jarvis

One reader sent their quirky memory in of the Palace Cinema in Thetford which, because it sometimes attracted trouble, could see the cinema owner police the aisles with his German Shepherd dog.

Another collection of submitted photographs were sent in of the Theatre 
De Luxe on St Andrew’s Street in Norwich.

Also known as the Ranchhouse because it showed a lot of Westerns, the cinema was much-loved and often called a fleapit because it became so run-down.

A selection of photographs including copies of the original opening programme from September 1970 were sent in of the Picture House in Diss too.

“We have had lots of hand-written letters come in and offers from people who want to volunteer and help in collecting the material,” Mr Atkinson said.

“But we would really like items from cinemas, which people are keeping or don’t know what to do with them.

“We would love memories and items from further away than Norwich, in Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Thetford.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund will grant £500,000 for the project, provided they can demonstrate interest and support from the public by raising £50,000 themselves.

Raising the rest of that cash is now their challenge.

To donate visit www.norfolkatthepictures.org.uk, make a cheque payable to Cinema City Ltd, or put cash in the donations box at Cinema City.

And to send your memories of Norfolk’s cinema past, call Marc Atkinson on 01603 625 145, email marc@cinemaplus.org.uk or write to Marc Atkinson, Cinema Plus, Cinema City, St Andrew’s Street, Norwich, NR2 4AD.

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