PHOTOGRAPHS... DOCUMENTS... NEWSPAPER CUTTINGS... MEMORIES... INFORMATION... CORRECTIONS... WANTED NOW.
Your help is urgently required in sourcing information, documents and photographs.
The former industrial valleys of South Wales once had a rich history of cinema going, with almost all towns and even villages having at least one cinema. Many of these cinemas have been demolished and long forgotten. The few cinemas that survive are at risk of being lost and forgotten in the near future.
Your contributions and corrections are highly appreciated and ensure that the former picture palaces of South Wales are not completely forgotten. Please contact the webmaster by email, using the email link above.
With the exception of photographs and images from my own collection man of the cinema images used to illustrate this tribute to the cinemas of the South Eastern valleys have been submitted by a wide range of individuals from unknown sources. Should you be the copyright owner please contact the webmaster who will remove the image on your request. If you are happy for the image to be used to illustrate this website please email the webmaster who will acknowledge your permission for the use of the image on the website.
If you have additional related images/material/information and/or corrections to the information published here please email the webmaster using the email link provided on this web page.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The webmaster of this site would like to thank the following individuals for their kind assistance and contributions while researching many of the venues listed
Ken Roe, Tony Jukes, P.M. Miskell, David Fisher, Phillip Walkley, Paul James, Peter Edmunds, David Longstaff, martin T, Graham Powell.
Welcome to Cinema Wales, an affectionate tribute to the cinemas that played a role in entertaining the working class families of the South Eastern Valleys that make up the heartland of industrial South Wales.
Most of the cinemas in this region of Wales have been long lost with only distant memories left to remind us of what once was. The whole area was rich in cinemas, most average size towns boasted three to five cinemas, such was the hunger for escapism and big screen entertainment during the heyday of cinema going.
Going to the pictures in the South Wales valleys was a big night out for most people, many would go to the pictures more than once a week before it’s decline in the early seventies.
Not all of the cinemas of the region were the splendid buildings they might have been although it is true that there were a good number of exceptional and popular cinemas throughout the valleys, many were purpose built while a good number were conversions of former indoor markets, music halls and old theatres. Many towns and villages included a Working Men’s Hall cinema and these venues are also featured here.
The process of researching the cinemas included here has been slow and painful with little information easily available. Most cinemas in this region of South Wales were owned and operated by independents, during the thirties a circuit known as the Jackson Wither’s Circuit had acquired many of the cinemas operated by small circuits and individuals. The Jackson Wither’s Circuit became a formidable force in the Welsh Valleys in relation to cinema exhibition. This left many towns with all or the majority of cinemas operated by the Withers Circuit and little if any competition. Even so the Jackson Wither’s Circuit was operated prudently and offered a good choice of entertainment in order to produce profitability. The only real competition to the Jackson Wither’s Circuit would be the Miners’ Institute’s and Workingmen’s Halls who also owned and operated a string of cinemas. These were generally booked and managed by committee members of the Institute or Club, frequently with little if any experience or knowledge of cinema exhibition, therefore these venues tended to have mixed fortunes.
Using the links to the left you are invited to remember the cinemas listed by each town.
URGENTLY REQUIRED - BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
You are welcome to include your own memories, information and suggestions. If you have any images please do contact the webmaster using the email link below, photographs are urgently required.
Additional information and confirmation on features and dates of the venues listed is always welcome. If you know of a cinema that is not included in the listed towns on the left please do forward written information by email so we can add the venue to the list.
Cinemas of the British Armed Forces
The familiar brand of cinema advertising, born in Wales.
Childrens Film Foundation - Saturday Morning Nostalgia
The Jackson Withers Circuit
The Welsh cinema circuit born in the valleys
Additional features related to cinema now added and updated - 2013
Additional external links of interest
Blaenau Gwent Chartist and Historical Society
CTA - Cinema Theatre Association UK
Wales Vintage Cinema. Com
awaiting confirmation of website
The joy of going to the cinema in the valleys
IN THE UK
new feature coming soon
Bringing the cinema to rural communities.