Cinema history is an important part of the history of leisure and popular entertainment. Cinemas and picture houses in Manchester were such a visible part of the street scene and the life of each neighbourhood. You could go to the 'flicks' to escape from reality. What would courting couples have done without a date at the pictures? There were children's matinees on a Saturday morning, film premieres and publicity stunts. Those who worked in the cinemas, from the behind the scenes projectionists to the usherettes serving ice creams were touched by the glamour of the movies. Looking at some of these photographs you can see that it wasn't all Hollywood sparkle. Early picture houses were jokingly described as bug houses and flea pits! Some were hosed down between children's matinee sessions. Between the wars cinemas became increasingly opulent. Foyers and bars were the height of luxury, all for the price of a seat in the stalls. The names of these picture palaces reflected regal and classical themes, reminding patrons of far off exotic places. Cinema architecture became a recognisable style. The shift from theatre to cinema took place in the first half of the 20th century. Cinemas then became bingo halls and clubs, BBC studios ,supermarkets and warehouses . Some are now events and conference venues. Televisions, videos and DVDs didn't kill off the public's desire for the big screen, though it was feared they would.
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