Golden memories of South Tyneside’s old cinemas

The Focus cinema.
The Focus cinema.

It’s fair to say that the silver screen brought back some golden memories when we posted a picture of an old South Tyneside cinema on social media recently.

For lots of you took to Facebook to comment about the photograph of the Focus Cinema, taken in May 1980.

A school caretaker with crates of milk bottles. The subject of recycling  glass bottles is back in the headlines.

A school caretaker with crates of milk bottles. The subject of recycling glass bottles is back in the headlines.

Yolanda May Parker posted: “Great childhood memories of the Focus and the ABC on Ocean Road,” while Jane Mary Robertson said: “I loved the Odeon on King Street.”

Karen Ellis recalled going to the “ABC minors on a Saturday morning watching the Three Stooges and then a Children’s Film Foundation movie, ahhh happy days”.

There was a similar comment from Vivienne Hinds who mentioned: “The ABC, went to the Saturday club for kids,” while Kevin Thomas Calcutt commented: “I remember this cinema as the Gaumont, I would go on a Saturday when I was a kid.”

Sherrie Loft took to Facebook to talk about the: “ABC, Saturday morning club, yes they were happy day xx,” and Lynsey Freestone remembers how she “Watched Sleeping Beauty there with my dad in 1979 when I was five.”

Agnes George listed The Gaumont, the Regent and the ABC among her favourite cinemas, saying: “Loved them all. You could go in and watch the same film over and over” while Karen Chapman said: “There were three cinemas in Jarrow alone. I queued three nights in a row to get to see Grease in 1978.”

Pauline Smith got in touch to say: “That used to be the Gaumont, I also remember the Savoy in Ocean Road.”

There were more memories from John Murray who said: “I remember queuing outside there for Star Wars, it was called the Gaumont then,” while Eddie Purcell reminded readers of “The empire in Jarrow, I used to work there as a projectionist and a bingo caller”.

Brenda Robson listed the Imperial, Crown, Palace and Regent picture houses – how many can you name?

Marian Brooks took to social media to talk about her memories: “Defo the Gaumont, Saturday morning, a strip of Everlasting Toffee and a drink and 2p for the bus” while Sylvia Neilson said; “I remember the Gaumont and the ABC, went to the Saturday morning show, still remember the song” and Sue Graham recalled the “ABC Saturday morning kids club.”

Meanwhile, the latest talk about bringing back returnable glass bottles got readers thinking.

Lorraine Thompson said: “Was only just talking about this at the weekend.

“Remember the pop man at the door on Friday evenings. Discount off full bottles if you returned your empties. Also took empty bottles back to local off-license stores.”

Linda Wood posted: “I used to knock on doors for empties lol, make few bob for the 1d tray.”

Other readers kindly got in touch after we posted a photo of youngsters reading at Whiteleas.

Lynn Wight said: “I was part of a experimental reading curriculum (can’t remember the name) but was it spell it how you say it.

“It was a total waste of time. Does anyone remember it?”

Jane Mary Robertson recalled how: “We used Beacon Readers at Downhill Infants.

“I remember going to read to the headteacher when I was six. I read the story of Snow White and Rose Red.

Meanwhile, Jean Behling, hailed the Suffragettes, saying: “A fantastic group of women who fought to give women the vote, they were force feed, thrown into prison, treated abominably.

“I have been fortunate to go into the house (which is a museum) that is situated next to Manchester Royal infirmary, the house is full of fantastic information, photos personal memorable, it is well worth a visit.”