St John's Cinema

  • 16 Jan 2012
  • Theatre
  • Back
For over 50 years, St John's Cinema was the focal point of family entertainment for those living in Worcestet, west of the Severn. An old public house, the King's Head, stood on the site until July 1914, when a cinema was built by the Godsall brothers. It opened in great style, announcing that the Worcester M.P, Mr. Golulding, would perform the opening ceremony -- but he did not turn up. Nethertheless, there were members of the Corporation present who saw The Oath, and other dramatic films. They sang the National Anthem, and marvelled at the clarity of the pictures despite a 'throw'of 80 ft. The prices were 3d....6d  , and 1s. Soon afterwards, the War broughtpatriotic films, and Harry Godsall would mount the little stage to give a commentary to the 'Big Film'.

In the early days travellers would go the rounds of cinemas 'selling' the new films. In those days too, there was always a piano, and at St. John's, Ray Haines played, sometimes accompanied by a small orchestra of two violins and a cello. The great occasion came in 1929 when Godsall secured the first 'talkie' for St. John's, the first for the City. It was 'The Singing Fool' starring Al Jolson, and the crowds were so great that they stretched down to the Bull Ring for the evening performances. After a fire in 1939, the Cinema was taken over by the Odeon group, and finally closed in 1959, falling a victim of the small screen -Television.

The  Old King's Head Inn stood on the site until 1914.