Woolton Cinema.info Publication`s © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Woolton Cinema Publication`s © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
A strange thing happened. We used to have an oil fired boiler at the Woolton many years ago. That were a
nuisance really because you’d got to check up that there was no less than 300 gallons of oil. If ever it came to a
weekend with a public holiday and you went below that you were liable to run out of oil and there would be no
heat in the place I was thankful when they went over to gas, Anyway I remember going down to the boiler house
one morning and there was a big puddle of water, well, I thought it was water and we wanted the boiler on for
some reason or another, so I went to put it on manually. I went down to the bottom of the stairs and I was looking
at this pool of water, I thought that we might of had a leak or something like that. I switched the boiler on and all of
a sudden, there was a terrific explosion and the boiler house door blew of its hinges, hit the wall and knocked a
clump of sandstone out of the wall and all of the boiler house floor went on fire. I cowered in the corner.
Fortunately, I had a big woolen overcoat on, and I waited until it had died down sufficiently, I pulled this overcoat
over my head and I ran up the stairs. When I got to the top all of the cleaners burst out laughing. They asked me
what had happened. I had got no hair on, and my face was as black as soot. It was very funny to them, but it
wasn’t very funny to me,.......... In fact, it took me about two hours to clean my face up.
I have fond memories of working at the Woolton picturehouse it was during the nineteen forties and fifties. I was
fourteen when I started in the box with frank Turner who was the Chief projectionist and Manager along with his wife
Olive the cashier, I was also chief operator at the Capitol Edge hill for three years. I left the Woolton cinema three times
and went back on two occasions. The money was so bad we had to repair seats and maintain the boiler. I remember a
mate of Mr Wellor (the owner) came out of the RAF and Mr Wellor let him have the shop adjoined to the front of the
cinema. All the stock was ex-government radios, shortwave and oscilliscopes. I had to help him in the shop in the
mornings, it made a change for me in them days. we had no service at all for the Mcs or amplifiers. it was a hard job
keeping them running. I remember one Christmas when we were running the projectors, as we did before the show’s
for a half hour each day, & No 1 motor was pouring out black smoke, somebody rang the fire chief. he came out and
closed the cinema for the night and we had to give all the patrons their money back. One of the films I remember
showing in the early days at the Woolton cinema was the Rats of Tubruk.In those days the arc houses had a open back
with no motors and you had to adjust the carbons by hand, the equipment was bad but they were good old days.
Harry Hardwick 2007
When my dad retired he
went to work in Woolton
picturehouse as a fireman.
We then all went and got
jobs in Woolton cinema. I
was a usherette, my younger
sister was a usherette and
my brother became second
fireman. His wife became a
cleaner and so was my
mum, My mum worked there
for twentyeight years
cleaning-she worked there
until she was Eighty-four!
J F Wood (Grand father of the late owner of
the Woolton picturehouse) started in theatres
as a silent movie projectionist he went on to
open one of the first purpose built cinemas in
Liverpool the Bedford cinema Walton, he soon
established a chain of cinemas throughout
the Merseyside area under the company
name of Bedford cinemas. his largest screen
cinema was the Abbey Cinerama Wavertree.
this was also owned by his son Tony after the
death of J F Wood. The picture left is a rare
photo of The Council of The Liverpool
theatrical gala, 1913-1914, of which J F WOOD was a honorary member. He can be
seen on the photo fifth from left. The two Gentlemen at the front of the photo are
LOUIS PEAKE chairman and W KELLY vice chairman.
The big thing winter and summer was the Woolton Pictures and the Saturday afternoon matinee, It wasn’t just
Woolton kids that used to go it was the kids from round about- Hunts Cross, Halewood, Hale. We would all move
on there Saturday afternoon. The queue used to go right down Mason St and then turn the corner,past Browns
the sweetshop which used to do great business, As the kids were waiting to go in the queue they would all jump in
there to get their sweets, sherbet and liquorice and all that kind of stuff. If you didn’t get there early enough you
could get locked out and all the kids would drift away.
but some kids would stay,they then used to go around the back and there was a very narrow gap between the
back wall of the cinema and the walls.were you could look in the window,quite often you could actually look
through a chink in the curtain and watch the film but if ever that curtain moved,everyone panicked,they thought
that someone had seen them and there was this mad panic of kids scrambling to get down and outside and round
the other side of the cinema before anyone came out.Nothing ever happened it was just a twitch in the curtains.It
was always a buzz for the kids.
Memories & Anecdotes from patrons & former staff of the Woolton Picture House.