Memories of the Dunmow Kinema

PUBLISHED: 11:20 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 07:03 30 May 2010

Scenes from the Kinema

Scenes from the Kinema

ONE of the former managers of the Dunmow Kinema has been in touch to share some stories and pictures. Peter Baines, who now lives in Paisley, Scotland, phoned the Broadcast after reading a letter asking for old photos, in our special flitch edition on Jul

ONE of the former managers of the Dunmow Kinema has been in touch to share some stories and pictures.

Peter Baines, who now lives in Paisley, Scotland, phoned the Broadcast after reading a letter asking for old photos, in our special flitch edition on July 17.

He said: "I felt compelled to get in touch because I have lots of photos of the Kinema before it closed down, all taken during my time as chief operator, and later on, as manager."

Mr Baines was manager at the old cinema on Chelmsford Road between 1951 and 1957 before handing it over to a chip-shop owner, who gave it to his daughter. "She was married to Ted Frost, who took over running it after I had left to join ABC Cinemas in Scotland," he said.

"I still have family in Dunmow, my brother Norman still lives there, and I was delighted to hear a cinema was being started up in the town again. It is something that Dunmow needs.

"I have fond memories of the cinema. We used to do lots of promotional work for a lot of the really big films of the time. For the old navy war film Morning Departure I remember we decked out the whole place in corrugated cardboard to look like the inside of a ship, with portholes and everything."

Mr Baines' real claim to fame was his 'homemade' installations that he used to create with the help of his wife, Margaret to keep the cinema up to date with the latest technology.

He said: "I managed to create the new 'Cinemascope' atmosphere at a fraction of the price by using curtains, rails and blackboard, allowing us to adjust the screen size at a cost of just £60 instead of the £7000 for a proper system.

"It worked so well they even asked me to install it over at Saffron Walden."

Mr Baines said that it was a real shame the Kinema died out, but blamed the sale on a lack of profits after televisions were introduced into the home.

Saving the best until last, he said: "Another little innovation of mine was a little red light, on the right of the proscenium arch which the cashier flashed whenever the Fire Siren sounded so that if any of the firemen were in the cinema, they didn't miss a shout!"

Do you have any fond memories of the Kinema? Write to the Broadcast at 2 Angel Lane, Great Dunmow, Essex, CM6 1AQ.

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