Town cinema soon showing

PUBLISHED: 13:48 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 17:56 31 May 2010

Non-active church elder Alan Wood in the renovated United Reformed Church 		Picture:MICHAEL BOYTON

Non-active church elder Alan Wood in the renovated United Reformed Church Picture:MICHAEL BOYTON

GREAT Dunmow will have its own cinema, but with a twist – the new facility will be based in a church. The United Reformed Church on New Street will host a new cinema for Dunmow close to the town centre, which could provide a real safe community focal

GREAT Dunmow will have its own cinema, but with a twist - the new facility will be based in a church.

The United Reformed Church on New Street will host a new

cinema for Dunmow close to the

town centre, which could provide

a real safe community focal

point, says Darren Jones from Step Forward Productions, which is

behind the project.

He said: "I live locally and have three children of my own. It costs more than £15 a head to go out of town to Chelmsford or Braintree

and watch a film and if they go

on their own often films finish late and I worry about them getting

home safely."

The church will let out its facilities to the cinema in the same way it rents out its hall, and the schedule will not affect any of the church's current activities, says church elders Joyce and Alan Wood.

They said: "It is a very good idea and a good thing for Dunmow. It is important we say that although this hasn't been completely finalised it won't affect our congregation as it is just a church let in the same way as we let the hall."

The new cinema will have benefits for everyone in town including church goers as rates for screenings are being charged at a community friendly rate, says Mr Jones.

Customers will be charged £5 for viewings with elderly people paying a concessionary price of £4.50.

Mr Jones said: "We are aiming to show some classic films during weekdays and anything that the cinema makes over £150 a week to cover costs will be put into a fund to

screen free films at the weekends

for children."

Although not strictly a cinema all the trappings of the big screen will be available, Mr Jones said. "We have digital surround sound and a 12ft

by 7ft screen, and will be selling

the usual cinema treats like popcorn," he said.

The cinema will be able to seat around 150 people and after a trial period more and more of the

latest films as well as old classics will be scheduled.

Likely days for the first few screenings are Mondays and Thursdays and a date for the opening night will be discussed at a private meeting being held today (Thursday) at 3pm in the church.

l AN?OLD cinema building still exists in Great Dunmow today says Dunmow Historian Peter Street.

He said: "The building is near to the mini-roundabout opposite the old Braintree Road and near to the old railway station on station road."

The old cinema, or Kinema as it was called in those days, was run by a Mrs Abbernathy from the early 1930s before Bury St Edmunds Ltd took over in 1937 and Douglas Bostock became the manager.

Throughout the Second World War it was very popular amongst US and UK pilots and soldiers in the area,

but in 1960 it was converted into a bingo hall. Since then it has been a garden machinery centre, Great Dunmow's Shopping Arcade and finally a lawnmower and garden shop.

Do you have any memories of the old cinema? If so get in touch with us at the Broadcast by e-mailing editor@dunmow-broadcast.co.uk

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