Norwich movie man on a mission

Do you remember the night they smashed up the old Norwich 'Ranch House' or the time the rockers went on the rampage? Then read on....

Did you grow up in Norwich of the frantic '50s or swinging '60s? If you did then there is one man you may be able to help.

Peter Cossey runs our very own Movie Shop and has done for 25 years. It stands as a shining example of independent trading at its very best.

Over the years it has become part of city life and a magnet for film fans from across the country and abroad.

There is no other shop quite like it and while others have come and gone Peter keeps on trading. He survives on second-hand collectables bought and sold through the door.

Now he is writing a book about his life, and life in Norwich, and he hopes that our readers will be able to help him.

'I've covered life in Norwich as I remember it, and have spoken to friends of my era to add their memories as well. I've devoted a great deal to the cinemas of the Fifties – every one of which I visited – and the book shops, comic shops and record shops I have dealt with over the last 60 years and the characters that ran them,' said Peter.

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'Because of my interests from early years, and later business dealings, I've had contact in some way with most of the independent shops and collectors from the start of the Fifties to now, and am attempting to preserve their memory while there are still some of us around who remember them,' he added.

He wants to contact anyone who visited the cinemas and shops in the '50s and '60s – for memories of the way they did business, who worked there and any anecdotes, photographs or ephemera.

And here are some of the avenues of old Norwich you can help Peter explore:

Were you present at the last night of the dear old Theatre De Luxe cinema in 1957. Known as the Ranch House, because of all the westerns it showed, it came to a sad end when hooligans went on the rampage?

Does anyone remember the riots at the Regal Cinema in Dereham Road following the showing of Rock Around The Clock in May 1957?

Do you have a photograph, or memories, of Oldham's shop in Charing Cross from the Fifties?

Perhaps you were at the Theatre Royal in 1951 when the movie star Bela Lugosi appeared?

Have you a photograph of the St Benedict's bomb site from the 1940s?

Has anyone any photographs or memories of the Adelaide Street area during the late 1940s?

'In the 20 years from the end of the war, Norwich changed forever, and a whole way of life was lost. I lived through it all, and I want to preserve the memories while there's still time,' said Peter.

If you can help with Peter's project email, call Norwich (01603) 615239 or write to him at The Movie Shop, 11 St Gregory's Alley, Norwich, NR2 1ER. And of course you can always pop in to see him and take a look at his wonderful shop.