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Disclaimer: This interview was conducted in 1995 and concerns memories of 1930s life; as such there may be opinions expressed or words used that do not meet today's norms and expectations.


* Transcript ID: GG-95-221AT001

* CCINTB Transcript ID: 95-221-15a-x, 95-221-16a-f

* Tapes: GG-95-221OT001, GG-95-221OT002

* CCINTB Tapes ID: T95-125, T95-126

* Length: 1:07:49

* Bradwell, Norfolk, 26 October 1995: Valentina Bold interviews Gloria Gooch

* Transcribed by Joan Simpson/Standardised by Julia McDowell

* GG=Gloria Gooch, BG: Bernard Gooch, VB=Valentina Bold

* Notes: First interview of two with Gloria Gooch; Sound Quality: Good.


[Start of Tape One]

[Start of Side A]

[VB tape introduction]

GG: [inaudible; background noise] I think I've got that one. My husband was born in Yarmouth.

VB: Was he?

GG: And he will've spent his, see, I went to Lowestoft when I was four and came back when I was fourteen. You see eh, so-- [pause 3 seconds] But [pause 3 seconds; rustling] I have a lot of pictures there which would perhaps interest you but they are Lowestoft.

VB: Yes.

GG: Here we are. Oh no, that's, that's where the Col, Coliseum is. [inaudible; 00:01:00rustling] The Grand. [pause 8 seconds] [inaudible]. And I found that eh... [pause 4 seconds] Oh yes. Lowestoft Coronet. I can remember that when I was going to Lowestoft.

VB: Uhuh.

GG: I remember that Coronet that they talk about on and off. Oh no, that was further down. There was a lot of bombing there during the war. Erm-- [tape cuts out]

[tape restarts]

VB: Ah.

GG: That was no good.

VB: It sounds from what you were saying as if he was involved in quite a few of the cinemas.

GG: Well yes. He was a director of the Regal. At Yarmouth.

VB: Mhm.

GG: And he, he erm, at the opening night and I can remember going to the opening 00:02:00night, eh, my sister presented a bouquet to Merle Oberon who was down. They opened with The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth [referring to The Private Life of Henry VIII]. And Merle Oberon was one of the wives in it and she came down. I remember my father, very, very strong personality. Real showman. He presented Merle Oberon, my sister presented a bouquet to her. [pause 2 seconds] However, in there, it is not London Road South eh, North, it's London Road South. The Grand cinema. Now, it's still there but I did have a picture of it. It was a swimming pool. And I did have a picture of it when it was bombed by a Zeppelin in the First World War. Well then, that was a swi, it's got a swimming pool. Well I can't find that. It's gone. But erm, it 00:03:00was eh-- it was then built into a cinema and that's when dad moved there I think about-- You'll see the dates.

VB: Mhm.

GG: Nineteen, when he went from the Regent at Yarmouth to Lowestoft. He went to manage it. And it was owned by a lace, owner of a lace factory at Nottingham. And he managed the Grand. The putting green. The golf course. And, but his personality in all the stunts that were done, and this would be when I was four, and it'd be 1917, 1920, twenties, now I'm going to 1920s. And erm, eh, so my husband was here, in that time. In Yarmouth. And I didn't come back till I was fourteen, when my father took over the Coliseum. At Gorleston. And erm, mostly I can 00:04:00remember Lowestoft. For instance, my father advertised, that's me. Advertising Jackie Coogan.

VB: [laughs]

GG: And that's when I was five years old. So--

VB: A-ah!

GG: That is 1921, isn't it?

VB: That's wonderful.

GG: Now you'll see all these pictures here.

VB: Mhm.

GG: Would you like to look at, eh, these are all connected with Lowestoft. That's my father again. These were, I brought these out of the Coliseum when we sold the site. My father went in with Mr Barr, E.V. Barr. And bought the Coliseum, Attree Barr Limited it was. And eh, eh, then Mr Barr died. And then my brother, my father was dead and my brother managed it. And we didn't want to carry it on. So in 1970 we sold the whole site. And if you've been into 00:05:00Gorleston, that's now where the erm Iceland shop is and they, they built a Boots on the site. Down the centre there, and that was, I brought all these out of the office. My brother wasn't keen on. But this may be interest to you. Now, look, that's advertising All Quiet on the Western Front.

VB: Wow!

GG: You see, that's, they're actually pictures that dad [pause 2 seconds] did advertising stunts.

VB: How did he get? Is this a van that's made to look like a tank?

GG: Yes. I think it, yes. That's eh, made to look like a tank.

VB: Mhm.

GG: See, this is the front of the Grand. But now it's, they couldn't, they wanted to sell it something else but they said the foundations were bad.

VB: Mhm.

GG: Well I know it's a swimming pool, so I mean, it's probably. And it's all boarded up now.

VB: That's wonderful!


GG: And-- now this...

VB: Goodness me. He must've had quite a vivid imagination actually! [laughs]

GG: Oh, he was a--

VB: Seeing this one of you with Jackie Coogan as well. [laughing]

GG: Yeah.

VB: It's wonderful.

GG: It was advertising in the harbour at Lowestoft. I can't read the thing.

VB: [laughs]

GG: Now, here's my father with, this is outside the Grand Cinema.

VB: Uhuh.

GG: You still recognise it as a building. Advertising a film of Harold Lloyd. And I can well remember those big heads. [laughs]

VB: That's just amazing! These little glasses.

GG: Now this was erm, Henry Edwards, in The Flag Lieutenant. That's not Henry Edwards. But that was a Mr Kittle who came and sang on the stage and dressed up. It was The Flag Lieutenant. Henry Edwards. Now I've got a picture of one here somewhere.

VB: In his sailor's uniform.

GG: Where they came down to see us. Now, here's my father again. Erm [pause 2 seconds] that's advertising Michael [Stroganov?] and that's in the foyer of the cinema.


VB: [laughs]. That's incredible. He's all done up.

GG: And erm, this is the putting green. And there's my father. They must've been on there, advertising something. That was what he ran for the people.

VB: Oh! [laughs]

GG: See dad eh, you know, have you been to see, Jack Jay has just died [circus show producer]. Have you? You haven't been to see any Jays? Now, when he died not long back it had in the paper that his father, Ben Jay, who had the Palace and the Hippodrome at Lowestoft, used to take him round, when he was seven, advertising Jackie Coogan. Well, I'm two years younger than him, so it was the same, they used to compete shall I say, in their advertising. It was really quite a jolly thing. Everyone joined in. That's another. Used to go round the town to advertise.


VB: [reading] "Prince of Adventure".

GG: They don't do that now, do they?

VB: No.

GG: And this, my father was erm-- [pause 2 seconds] Erm, something Goddard. He was, I think he was in All Quiet on the Western Front.

VB: A-ah!

GG: Eh, there's my father. Decked his car up. Douglas Fairbanks and The Thief of Bagdad.

VB: With all the women dressed in the eastern costumes. Ah!

GG: And this is another old car he used. I remember this old car. He used to use it for advertising things.

VB: Henry Edwards in The Joker.

GG: Yes. [Air Pitch and Wings?] I mean these pictures come up in books. See, these were all silent days, you know. All silent pictures.

VB: On his little plane. It's just amazing these.

GG: And this was the carnival night. My father dressed up. When he moved to Gorleston, he does, did a lot then for the hospitals by, in carnivals and 00:09:00then... that's him dressed up again.

VB: [laughs]

GC: And that's all the staff. I can remember the staff. They were the usherettes. And they all joined in and dressed up. Now they'd want to be paid for it, wouldn't they?

VB: [laughs] It looks such a lot of fun. I'm sure they thoroughly enjoyed it.

GG: Oh. It was a lot of fun. There's the ghost train. There's dad in his full evening dress and you can see he had a, he had a top hat there. I don't know what, I did have that but I don't know what's happened to it. You know, one you pushed and opened it out, you know.

VB: [laughs] Did he, did he always wear evening dress when he was working?

GG: Always on, yes. The real showman on the front. And I can remember this little fob thing on his watch. I can quite well remember that. That's dad there. Look he's shortened his trousers there.

VB: Ah.

GG: Now, see Great Barnum week. First week. Circles filled with garlands and 00:10:00[inaudible]. That's all eh, advertising thing you see.

VB: Mhm.

GG: Just sales of films. I don't remember these two. These were Indians that came down. They look filthy really. Erm, [Chief Yowlachie?], he was called. And that was for some western thing. And that's in the back of the Grand Cinema. On some grounds there. And all the children. I can well remember that. Dirty, they looked! [laughs]

VB: [laughs]

GG: Now that's the Grand, eh, now it's boarded up. It was, that's the front of it then and eh, Mary Pickford on that one.

VB: Ah!

GG: [laughs] That's a long time ago. I can remember Mary Pickford. And this was Henry Edwards. The Flag Lieutenant. Advertising that again. [pause 2 seconds] John Stuart. [pause 2 seconds] This was at the Coliseum. He came down. John 00:11:00Stuart. He was quite a big actor. In these sort of lovey-dovey things. And I don't quite know who that was. Some actress. I don't know. That's the, that's the Coliseum at Gorleston.

VB: Mhm.

GG: That's dated 1926. Someone [pai?]. [pause 4 seconds] Carnival Night. That's London. There's St John's Church up there, which is now demolished. And eh, they had carnival nights. I can remember. I mean I was a child, didn't go every night. But the carnival nights. We were allowed to go. There was prizes galore. And also, another thing, I can remember Mannequin Parade. And they were put on by Tuttles [department store] at Lowestoft, which is now-- the place isn't 00:12:00demolished but it's no longer Tuttles. And eh, and I think that was recognised as one, the first cinema to put on a mannequin parade. And I can quite remember that. And my sister was one of the people that, in it. She's older than me. The Bugle Call. Another one.

VB: Aye. These are just amazing. I mean, eh, it must've caused quite a stir locally, when you he put on one of his things.

GG: Ooh yes. Well I'm trying to find how my father worked so much. He worked a lot for the hospital. And when he died, he died more or less suddenly after working hard. He was only fifty-six when he died. And do you know, 'The Mecury', it covered the whole front page. He was such a, he was a very [pause 2 seconds] kind, philanthropic man. Did things for children and that sort of thing. And erm, 00:13:00but these are [on the loose?], these are [inaudible]. It looks a dump, doesn't it? At the back there.

VB: [laughs]

GG: I believe the tax office is there now. And then a thing there, in aid of Lowestoft Hospital.

VB: Uhuh.

GG: That's another advertising, all the staff, you see all the staff at that company.

VB: The nursing.

GG: And then they had, they had erm [pause 2 seconds] sand erm competitions, on the beach.

VB: [laughs]

GG: On the beach at Lowestoft.

VB: Down to the sea and ships at the Grand Cinema. [laughing]

GG: Yes. And, you know, so much now they think you're soft if you did all that, wouldn't they? You see, but no, it was, and everyone joined in it. You made life, you know. Because I mean the cinema was quite a new thing I suppose. Erm, and that's, I believe that was another one that.


VB: Priscilla Dean in Under Two Flags.

GG: They put this in America. Buster Keaton. They got a farmer, bring a cow. Go round and have a... [laughs]

VB: [laughs] Aw dear. Go West.

GG: That's the ghost train again. That's in front with the town hall at Lowestoft. That's my [father-in-law?].

VB: How did he, I mean, some of these look quite complicated. I mean this is a car with--

GG: Well. They made it.

VB: Did he do this himself?

GG: Well he didn't. 'Cause I don't suppose my father was a carpenter.

VB: Well they sound very complicated.

GG: You used to get firms that would put the structure. It was his car.

VB: Mhm.

GG: That's him, driving it, you see.

VB: [laughs]

GG: That was his car. And he used to-- [pause 2 seconds] He was a corporal in the Royal Signals and I was born when my father was in the trenches in the Second, First World War. I was two years old before my father saw me. [laughs]

VB: Mhm.

GG: That's when he left the Regent at Yarmouth and Mr Allen. I can well remember 00:15:00him. He was the manager for some years. No children. He had a glass eye. I remember that glass eye! [laughs] But then when my father came back, he couldn't have been back long before he got the job at the Grand. At Lowestoft. Phantom of the Circus. I can remember that.

VB: Oh-h! The costumes are just amazing as well.

GG: Well, they're amazing really. How people, that's dad with a tin hat on. [Old Bill?]. I don't quite know who he is. That's dad's car, he used to, and eh [pause 2 seconds] and I can remember these were stored up the back. There's Harold Lloyd. And there were several big heads like that. They used for advertising. And that's that old car. And that's Lowestoft too.


VB: Goodness me.

GG: Now, I've got a bigger one of this. This is Henry Edwards and Chrissie White. They were the stars. They were husband and wife. And he was, he was the star of The Flag Lieutenant. That is the erm, he was, that man was, this was the foyer of the Grand. And it had a lovely fireplace. A lovely coal fire in the winter there. And, and erm, he was eh [pause 2 seconds] to do with Edwards the Outfitters. Up [Top?] street. He used to take a lot of part in amateur dramatics. See they're all smoking there. [laughs]

VB: [laughs] A beautiful bouquet as well for the star.

GG: Isn't it?

VB: Yeah.

GG: You don't get erm big like that now, do you?

VB: No. You don't.

GG: Now this is 'Barnum' [possibly referring to Bigger Than Barnum's]. And that's advertising 'Barnum', you see. There's the Grand.


VB: Oh the clown outfits this time. That's similar. I wonder if some of these outfits were the same as the ones in the ghost circus one you just showed me.

GG: What? Barnum at Yarmouth.

VB: Yeah.

GG: Oh, you mean the eh--

VB: The costumes look very similar.

GG: Which ones?

VB: Eh, the one--

GG: Further down.

VB: Further down.

GG: Yes. Where there's another man on, isn't there? Sally of the Sawdust that one.

VB: Ah.

GG: Yes, I, I, I thought that man was important.

VB: Yes.

GG: 'Cause not everyone can roll along--

VB: Ah I see!

GG: On a ball, can they? Now I can remember this. This was the carnival. But I believe I'm on this. I believe that's me right up the back there. But we were all swans on this thing and that's the Michelin Man. And that was to advertise the carnival. I remember going on that. [Chug, chugging along?]. Yes. Here we are again. Dad. [pause 2 seconds; laughs]


VB: [laughs].

GG: The carnival thing. That's on the front. I remember being dressed up. Don't miss, you know [pause 2 seconds] what sailors are. That's a Yarmouth, a Lowestoft harbour.

VB: Oh. The boats.

GG: Great London Pavilion. North of 36. That's the Grand is here. There's the shops on the other side of the road. All the staff! I can, I can remember this one here. And she was a cripple. She was the cashier. How they all joined in and, it really was quite a family. They all join in to advertise the things. They weren't paid any extra for it. Now this is my brother. Dressed up as-- we all had to work hard, I can tell you! [laughs]

VB: [laughs]

GG: [reading] "Girls beware. I am the Lodger". [referring to The Lodger] My brother.

VB: [laughs]

GG: My brother was much quieter than my father. Hadn't the personality but he 00:19:00was sort of told to do it, if you know what I mean.

VB: [laughs]

GG: What's that? Under Two Flags.

VB: Ah.

GG: 'College Days' [referring to The Freshman]. Harold Lloyd. That's my brother. [laughs] Eh this, I think this is, was that the side of the cinema? Yeah. Could be. Well that's in-- [pause 2 seconds] He went [dead?]. And what they used to do, if you've seen Ben Dea, Ben erm-- [pause 2 seconds] What was there? Jack. [pause 2 seconds] Who's just-- Jay. Ben Jay. His father, Jack Jay's father. Erm, they used to compete. And when they, Ben and Jay had advertised, dad's Charlie Chaplin'd go at the head of his band. And that sort of thing. It was always done in good part, you 00:20:00know. Down to the Sea in Ships. Rin Tin Tin. I can remember this. He used to borrow this dog.

VB: [laughs]

GG: That wasn't, that wasn't ours. But he used to borrow it. Look at all the hats there. Rin Tin Tin.

VB: They're so eye catching these. I bet they really--

GG: Well it was very happy times.

VB: Pulled in the audiences.

GG: One of The Lodger. Sally of the Sawdust. That's my brother on a donkey, look.

VB: [laughs]

GG: He's seven years older than me you see. He's on a donkey there. And my father's, "Come on!" [laughs] [inaudible].

VB: [laughs]

[pause 3 seconds]

GG: The Bugle Call. That's in the parade at Lowestoft. Can't remember this old car. C, L, 57 double 2. And that's for advertising the hospital with the dog.


VB: Ah. Is that the same dog that was Rin Tin Tin?

GG: I expect so.

VB: [laughs]

GG: He used to borrow that.

VB: Mhm.

GG: Now this is The Gold Rush. [pause 2 seconds] Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush. [pause 2 seconds] There's Charlie Chaplin. And all the children there. And with that film, the thing I remember about The Gold Rush, was Charlie Chaplin on a roof, sliding down with all snow and that. Well remember that. Now this was the entrance here. And you went up the side there to get to the erm, eh dynamos that sort of get the electricity going and that sort of thing. But it does look a poor old place now. It's just boarded up completely. Sad really, 'cause it was quite the centre of fun.

VB: Yeah.

GG: That's Barnum again.


VB: It certainly looks like you got extra entertainment as well as the film.

GG: Oh yes! You really enjoyed it. I mean, the Grand at Lowestoft. My dad's personality. He put the drive into it, you know. And eh, made it really very good. And then course eh, there you are again, all these staff. All the staff. I can remember them. There's the crippled one again. You see. Came to dress up for these things. He sort of got them all to do. Afraid of Love. [laughs]

VB: [laughs]

GG: Havoc, is this? I don't remember that film. Romance. [pause 3 seconds] Doris Keane. I don't remember her. Now here's the, it must've been when they were going on an outing and this is the shop opposite. In the London Road. And that's my father. And that's my mother. My brother Pete is through there. I 00:23:00wasn't old enough then so I'm not on it. [Rex?] had a shop opposite the cinema. And they're all the staff. There's the, there's the crippled one. [Miss Charlish?] her name. And eh, and their husbands came on the outings. [laughs]

VB: Aw, lovely.

GG: I'll put those elastic bands round those shall I? [inaudible]

VB: Yeah. They're just wonderful. They really are.

GG: They're nice. My brother, when we gave up the cinema, erm, he didn't want them. And they've all the frames in the office. At Gorleston. At Gorleston Coliseum. All in frames. But my father didn't want to take them. I don't know why. He asked to borrow them once. Someone wanted to do a [talk?]. I say, "No, 00:24:00Douglas." I say, "I'm not lending them to anyone at all. I might lose them." Because he didn't want them. So there you are. That was his, his loss.

VB: Not the sort of thing that can be replaced ever.

GG: Well no. They're not.

VB: Yeah.

GG: And they couldn't take them off. I had to cut round them. I couldn't take them off. They were stuck on too hard.

VB: Ah. I see.

GG: And this would be in 1970 I did this. And they were all up in the-- [pause 4 seconds]

VB: Your father never wanted to go into films himself did he? He sounds--

GG: No. He started his life. You know mum and dad were married in 1910. And they lived in King's Lynn. And my brother was born in King's Lynn. He was an electrician in, it will tell you in, I don't know it it's in there or here.

VB: Mhm.

GG: Has it told you? Did you see it in there?

VB: I don't remember. No.


GG: He was electrician in Electric House. Eh, electricity works at erm, electricity works at eh [pause 4 seconds], eh, [reading] "Young Attree was an electrician in King's Lynn. He acted as part-time operator for the King's Lynn [Forward?] Association, a religious preferred charity, a religious body which ran Saturday night film shows for one penny with ha'penny buns sold in the interval. The films were wrapped in paper [laughs; inaudible]. He worked at the new cinema in Beach Road." Now, you see, that's in that book. You've--

VB: Yeah.

GG: There was a [film?] there. I only remember that when it was derelict. And they pulled it down eventually. "He went in the new cinema in Beach Road called Filmland at a wage of two pound fifteen a week." To my mind, that seemed a lot 00:26:00of money in that, I think he's got that-- [pause 1 second] 'cause two [pound] fifteen a week.

VB: At that time it's--

GG: I think he's got that wrong. "Which opened on Boxing night, 1913. A week before E.V. Barr opened the Coliseum." Now, I would question that E.V. Barr opened the Coliseum. He didn't go there. There were some other people there. I'm sure he didn't open it. E.V. Barr. But they're all dead and gone. You can't. "Here they showed the first [inaudible]. In 1914 he went to the Regent at Yarmouth as operator and became assistant manager." Well I only know him as assistant manager there. "He joined up, in 1914 he joined up and was a linesman with the signals in France. Thinking more about broken telephone wires than broken into films. In 1920 he was general manager of the Grand cinema." I was 00:27:00four. So if I was born in 1917 that would be nearer 1921 he moved there. Well if I moved, he most probably went first. We got a house. And he was the first manager outside London to organise a mannequin parade in the cinema. I did have a picture. But you know how these do rather go. He was the first to use a public address system on the launch of the regatta. [turns page]. These aren't, there's a picture in here [pause 2 seconds] of the site of Gorleston. [inaudible]. [pause 10 seconds] That should be in that.


VB: Ah.

GG: That should be, that's [the Joker. That's come astray?]. I put these things in because I'm a flower arranger and, and eh, I haven't put the date in but I can remember I did a flower arrangement in Gorleston Church which was depicting the Coliseum. And the old films. And now I had, I borrowed these big reels from the Gem or Empire at Yarmouth. 'Course they weren't used then. And this is where some of these pictures are on this thing here.

VB: Ah I see.

GG: And I can remember those reels. My brother could let me have them c'ause they were not used. They got obsolete you see. They had more modern things. 00:29:00Here's my father in the electricity at King's Lynn. In erm [pause 2 seconds] in there.

[End of Side A]

[Start of Side B]

GG: 'Cause my mother cut holes in his stockings and he's got white showing through! [laughs]

VB: [laughs]

GG: That's that Buster Keaton one. [pause 2 seconds] These, these are part of the Coliseum when it was remodelled. I've got a picture of the old place here. But when we went, [pause 5 seconds] well these are sort of [inaudible]. That's 00:30:00when they spent a lot of money on redoing it. When, after dad got there. Prices, two and six, two shilling, one and six and a shilling. But these are all bits of the redecoration which erm, not, are not a great deal of interest. That was the, that was the design they put on the things. That was the corridor at the Coliseum. Very popular place. Eh, you see, I saw, shall I go back with the Lowestoft thing? I remember coming over with my two, with my mother and father [pause 2 seconds] erm, to the Regent at Yarmouth. To see the first talkie. The Singing Fool, I think it was. And I can remember sitting in the Regent. It's a very lovely, I know what it is now. It's a bingo hall. But it was a lovely 00:31:00place. More like an opera house. And I sat on one of the balconies. On my own. And mum and dad were in the balcony. Listened to this 'Singing Fool' and I remember crying. Wet my eyes out! [laughs]

VB: [laughs]

GG: And eh, really, that was quite interesting. And that was my first thing of the talkies. See the talkies came in, erm, before the war. 1930s? The talkies came in. And 'course, eh, they had them at Yarmouth before they had them at Lowestoft. And I can remember dad going over to see The Singing Fool. To see what it was like. And then there was the question of what equipment to have and I can remember, I can remember the equipment they first had was the Western Electric. You remember the sign, Western Electric? And erm, then it eventually 00:32:00came. You had to have it, you see. So then, erm, but, erm, then dad moved eventually. Bought the Grand, [sic] Coliseum with Mr Barr and formed a company. And then they remodelled it. And I have a picture here of the old one if I can find it. And erm [pause 2 seconds] this is where, well, that's 1969. That's after dad died. And The Sound of Music there. They always had, they always had these programmes. And 'course they'd be well after the war. After dad died. And they're things I kept [inaudible]. I can quite, erm, going back to look to the talkies, erm, dad was the, I can remember, saw them negotiate. "Must have 00:33:00talkies". Because they were losing business and Yarmouth had it. And it was a Western Electric system that went in. And, going in for the... [pause 2 seconds] Erm when they were first done, they were done on a disk. And I can [laughs] remember them saying, you'd been watching the film and the talking would be different to the film because they were run on records then. That was the beginning of the talkies you see. And then they modernised it and brought in erm, eh [pause 2 seconds] the films it was synchronised beside the film. First of all it was a record. And they were, always you'd get a loudspeaker and the 00:34:00sound weren't coming out.

And, erm, however, they did, I can remember they changed. Eh, Western Electric was the very, the tip top of that. But I'm not sure whether they ordered that in the first place. But that's what they had eventually. And erm, then dad, eh, I'm just trying to think if there was anything else I can think of at Lowestoft. Erm-- I don't quite know. I can't think of anything more at the moment. Then we moved to Lowestoft, eh, to Gorleston. And eh, I was still in school. I was fourteen, so I still used to go to school at Lowestoft, travelling back and forth on the train. And the Coliseum where we first moved into is, it was, had the name of a fleapit before that. [laughs] And I can remember the, if I only can, I will come across it. The, before it was modernised and they had a, erm, 00:35:00round thing in the foyer with a figure on with a light on the top. And erm, it wasn't long after we were there, the company was, the company was, dad moved in the first place on his own. As lessee on it. Then Mr Barr and him, then he joined up and made a private limited company, Attree and Barr Limited, which provided the finance to pull the front down, make a different entrance and all that. And that sort of stayed there, you know, right till the end. And eh, erm... [pause 2 seconds] Do you, do you want to know the films? Well it was, I can remember, you don't want to go the war years, do you? I mean--

VB: No. Just--

GG: No. I can go your years. I can remember erm I was working then and eh, mum 00:36:00was evacuated to Heathersett. And I can remember going to the Sunday show there and the Sunday cinemas came in. And dad didn't want them. But you had to do it because everyone else did. And sitting at the back of the cinema with bombs and guns and that going on. And eh, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was on. [laughs] But there'd be a notice come on, there's now a warning. But erm, [pause 4 seconds] but when we first came [pause 2 seconds] dad, he didn't do so much of this sort of thing. But he went in with a lot, with erm, with eh charity. And a lot of things to do with-- [pause 5 seconds] That's one of them. I'm on. 00:37:00[laughs] He used to do the Gorleston Hospital a lot of charities but they were, you know. Now here is dad, this is the Coliseum and this would be before the war. When the children brought an egg for entrance. That's my brother there. An entr-, egg to get into the cinema. And eh, I said that Palmer Road was up the side, afterwards there'd be no end of broken eggs,

VB: [laughs]

GG: On the road. But eh, that's the erm--

VB: Ah!

GG: Children's matinee, you see. And they brought eggs. And all those eggs were sent to the Gorleston Hospital. 'Cause we didn't have the National Health then you see. And eh, a friend of mine who worked there, she said they were all 00:38:00pickled. Pickled! [laughs] And erm, they got sick of eggs.

VB: [laughs]

GG: I think these ones are children holding the eggs, look up the Palmer Road.

VB: That's wonderful!

GG: Children's matinees.

VB: Mhm.

GG: Eh, here again, these are eggs too. Look. Children up Palmer Road. Some of those all grown up now. Yes. Brought eggs you see. They had to have one egg at least to get in. [laughs] And he also used to eh do erm [pause 3 seconds] firework displays up Palmer Road for the children. Very, very kindly. And no one in Gorleston needed to be poor, in need that he didn't go and help. He was just that sort of man. And erm, this is the carnival. There's my father as John Bull. 00:39:00There's my sister. Me. That was the carnival retinue. Eh, that raised money for the hospital. And that was what was done a lot of the cinemas then.

VB: Mhm.

GG: And eh, that's another film star. There was a small one. I don't know who she is. [pause 2 seconds] That's a picture of inside the cinema.

VB: Ah.

GG: This is the cent-, foyer of the Coliseum. [inaudible]. Now in the winter eh, at Christmas, he used to have a jolly great Christmas tree there. And people used to bring presents in for the people, children at Ferryside, which was a children's home and various things like that. And, they didn't have so much in stunts. The same as he was Father Christmas at Christmas matinees. And all the 00:40:00children got an orange. I can remember, a teenager, going bagging up an orange and sweets for every child that received it. That's the Mayor of Yarmouth and that's my father, dressed up as John Bull. That's to do with the carnivals again. All more or less geared to carn-- Now this is Sir Donald Sinden when he came down. [pause 2 seconds] There's my brother there. Where he came eh, up to the holiday camp. But they, my dad, my family were instrumental in getting him there. Now--

VB: Mhm.

GG: This is eh [pause 2 seconds] the front of the Coliseum. That's dad. Front of the Coliseum. Children had all got a little bag of stuff.

VB: [laughs]

GG: You see, that was, huh [pause 2 seconds]--

VB: Nobody's Baby.

GG: Nobody's Baby. [pause 2 seconds]. Don't remember that film. Do you? [laughs] 00:41:00Don't expect you remember a lot of them.

VB: It's interesting. I mean, what you're saying erm, there was far more than just eh, running the cinema. He was very much a part of the community.

GG: Yes. Yes. I think people-- different sort of people that joined in things differently. I suppose, you see, that started to decline when television came in. That, I mean, that I mean, it was very good during the war. You had all the troops there. Fine. They used to be packed every night. And it was the coming of the television that started to ruin, ruin the business. And this is why business went down and erm, erm that's why we sold up in the end. I mean, people sit home and watch it and they never came down. So the business deteriorated. So we had an offer for [pause 2 seconds] the property. And a big car park at the back and 00:42:00we sold out. It was just my brother, sister and I, you see. Erm, because eh, mum and dad were dead and erm. Now, this is the Coliseum before The Road to Mandalay I think is on, is it? No, erm, 'Road To', The Road to Mandalay-- Eh, this was the Coliseum before it was altered. Now shops all along there. And then we took in these and made a different entrance in that part there. Now it's quite different. I'd have thought this picture would've been in that book.

VB: Mhm.

GG: But it wasn't. And that's, there is a picture in there of the site for the Coliseum and that was--

VB: Yes.

GG: That must've been on that corner. That was Barclays Bank there. And above there, where they talk of Toc H there in the war [referring to the Christian 00:43:00movement], there was a hall above there which belonged to the building, you see, which was let to the Toc H. And [it wasn't long after that?], there was a dancing school. And there was a maypole there. Yes. Maypole. And I can remember the maypole was all tiled. Eh, Smiths there and-- that is the old picture of the Coliseum. That was the-- [pause 7 seconds] That is the Christmas tree.

VB: Oh, how lovely!

GG: That was at the Coliseum.

VB: Mhm.

GG: There's another of my sister and her, she's a very pretty girl. Erm, carnival time.

VB: Mhm. Your dresses are lovely in that.

GG: Yes. They were good, weren't they? Actually I had those for the Women's 00:44:00League of Health and Beauty. [laughs]

VB: A-ah!

GG: [inaudible] She's still alive isn't she? Prunella Stack and that would be pre-war we had those.

VB: Mhm.

GG: Well they were all pre-war. That's pre-war. All those things went on.

VB: 'Cause I was thinking, your sister's dress reminds me a bit of Snow White actually. It's that sort of shape, you know.

GG: Ye-es. I don't know quite where that came on. That was the mayor's granddaughter. I remember. [pause 2 seconds] I can't remember where that came from but this Biddy [surname redacted]. Her father kept the Pier Hotel at Gorleston. And erm, they were sort of, tulle, we had those for, mine was mauve and hers was purple. [laughs] Yeah. Women's League of Health and Beauty. But she's still alive isn't she? Prunella Stack.

VB: Someone else was telling me about that actually.

GG: Must be about eighty. About eighty. This was the Special Constables that dad 00:45:00was in during the war.

VB: Ah.

GG: There's another. These are before the war. Because they are all to boost up the business. I mean the cinema did very well then. That's the Mayor of Yarmouth, and dad there. And eh, the carnival things. Now this is Donald Sin, Sinden on the lifeboat.

VB: Ah.

GG: He's pretty old now isn't he?

VB: Yes. He's very young there.

GG: Erm-- that's my brother there. I don't know, that's after my dad died. So it'd be after 1945. That's some film star. Can't remember her name now. She mustn't have been that good. Some film star anyway.

VB: [laughs]

GG: This is Donald Sin, Sinden in Gorleston Hospital. Coming round to the children. [pause 2 seconds] Looked young man then, didn't he?


VB: Oh. Very much so. Yes.

GG: Annual carnival in aid of Gorleston Hospital. [pause 4 seconds] That's inside the Coliseum then.

VB: It looks lovely actually.

GG: Corridor. That's the corridor. And erm, number of toilets there. And this was the cheaper seats. And you went up the back. And at the back there was two lots of two. Which was for, all the courting couples went into those. [laughs] They'd get, Saturday night, Friday nights, Saturday nights, there'd be the courting couples in those. And eh--

VB: Even the carpet's lovely, I mean, obviously--

GG: Oh yes. Well this was after, must've been after it was remodelled.

VB: Yeah.

GG: Might have been remodelled before the war. Yes. Before the war. And all 00:47:00those decorations done. And this is where you see the [pause 2 seconds] place inside.

VB: Yes.

GG: You see. There's a new stage and all that sort of business. And one other thing I can remember that erm, before the war the erm, my mother used to go down to the matinees and the best seats. Masseys had a tea shop [over the road?] and the best seats had their tea brought in on a tray. Free.

VB: Really.

GG: All things, they don't now do they? [laughs]

VB: No!

GG: You have to pay for anything. But then, 'course, the cost of going in is so much dearer isn't it?

VB: Mhm. Oh yes.

GG: Oh can't think of that, it was some film actress.

VB: Mhm.

GG: My brother. And eh [pause 2 seconds] oh Coliseum, Gorleston. This is 1951. Now we're going out of your time a bit, isn't it?

VB: Mhm.


GG: [inaudible] Yes. I don't know what these. These are things I ripped down. A bit old aren't they?

VB: Mhm.

GG: [pause 2 seconds] Oh, trade fair opening, Donald Sinden. That's him when he came down. Some old films that he'd been in. The Cruel Sea. [pause 3 seconds] The Trade Fair eh, held at the Gorleston Holiday Camp.

VB: Mhm. Did your father have many trade shows? Or did he have trade shows at all?

GG: Well, you see, he was also a director of the Gorleston Holiday Camp.

VB: Mhm.

GG: And I, after I worked in Lowestoft at [Squires and Cables?] after I left 00:49:00school. And then I came, and I was, erm, the first secretary when they were building the holiday camp. Which is, is gone now. Another thing gone. Albeit buildings on it. And dad eh, was a director there. And I saw the whole building of that. And had quite happy times there because [pause 2 seconds] shall I say it brought out the personality? Meeting people. And that sort of thing. And erm-- then 'course the war came and they used it as erm, Polish troops were based there. And gun sites here on that. I lived in Gorleston then. Then-- [pause 5 seconds], erm, then, you see, business was very good. Those times. All the troops. I mean, my, my father was too old but my brother was in a reserved 00:50:00occuptation. He had to run the films. Because they were needed to entertain the troops you see, so erm... but it was after the war when they started to bring in television. And then things went down. I suppose. There's the Coliseum.

VB: Mhm. It's lovely with the stars and--

GG: Now [laughs] one other thing, going back to Lowestoft. You know the silent films, they used to have a thing round here, you see, an orchestra thing. And they'd have a piano behind that. Like someone playing for the films. And I can quite remember my father saying erm, "Oh, look at Mr," I think his name was Cattermole, "Look at Mr Cattermole playing the piano and drinking a cup a tea at the same time!"

VB: [laughs]


GG: He got the things opened at the back and they could hear at the front. Another thing going back to that. I'm talking about the Grand now. Erm, when they had Ben-Hur, it was Ramon Novarro, you know. Well, that was silent you see. And erm, erm-- [pause 3 seconds] I can well remember, I'd be a schoolgirl then, of bottles and chains being erm, [pause 2 seconds] down behind this orchestra pit. And I thought that was marvellous you know. [voice filled with awe]. When they were rolling the [boots?] and all these chains. And 'course, there was a lot of effects behind and 'course [laughs]--

VB: Ah.

GG: I can remember thinking how wonderful it was! Sound, really. But erm, there's the corridor again.

VB: What about when colour came? Did you--

GG: Colour?

VB: Yeah.


GG: [pause 2 seconds] What? Colour television?

VB: Colour, colour films. I mean with things like 'Snow White' [referring to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs] that you mentioned.

GG: Yes. Well 'course colour, colour came-- did it come just before the war?

VB: Yes. I think so.

GG: Eh, because 'Snow White' was coloured. And erm, yes, I don't quite know which was the first of the colour pictures. Before the war wasn't it?

VB: Yeah. I've a feeling it might've been 'Snow White' actually. It was certainly one of the first.

GG: Yes. It could've been. I can, that was wartime. That was wartime.

VB: It was wartime you saw it. Yeah.

GG: It was wartime. But it wouldn't have started eh, it wouldn't have started before the-- it wouldn't have started during the war. Would it? Colour must have been coming in before the war.

VB: Mhm.

GG: You see. And erm, I can't quite remember what was the first colour. Do you 00:53:00know which was the first?

VB: Erm, as I say, I know 'Snow White' was quite early. 'Cause I think it was made about 1938 but maybe not.

GG: Yes. This would be about eh, erm--

BG: [entering room] How are we getting on?

VB: Very well.

GG: Do you remember? You lived in Gorleston. But do you remember the first coloured films? 'Cause you used to go the Gem and the Empire.

BG: I can't remember the first time. I can't remember the first time. No, I can't.

VB: Mhm.

GG: It must've been before the war 'cause it wouldn't have been developed during the war. And 'Snow White', I know was that [inaudible].

VB: Yeah.

GG: And that was a marvellous picture.

VB: Yeah.

GG: And I can remember sitting at the back of the Coliseum and hearing that, and guns erm, that were going on and people didn't move! You know. They just put the sign on the screen, there's an air raid. And you just sat there. [laughs] You 00:54:00might as well get [amused voice] knocked in there. But we never did anyway. This is the front foyer of the Coliseum.

VB: Aw lovely. I like the armchairs and everything. It looks very welcoming.

GG: Yes. My mother used to walk down and sit there to wait for dad. Sit herself in one of them. And the office was this side.

BG: Going have a listen to this later on, are you?

VB: Yes. Yes.

BG: You come from Scotland?

VB: That's right. I'm from Glasgow University.

BG: Are you?

VB: Yeah.

BG: I was stationed at Bishopbriggs for some time.

VB: Ah-h!

BG: I enjoyed life there. Oh very much. [pause 3 seconds] [inaudible] Oh, great times. Standing [booking?] at the Theatre Royal.

VB: Oh-h. [laughs]

BG: The Alhambra.

VB: I know the Theatre Royal.

BG: Yes.

VB: Very well.

BG: Is the Alhambra still there?

VB: Erm, I don't think it is actually. No. [laughs]

BG: [laughs] Plaza?

VB: No. [laughs]

BG: All dance halls. [laughs]


GG: Now this is 1935. Regal Theatre. Someone gave me this. It's a programme of [pause 2 seconds] when they had erm, what's his name? What's the Irish singer? Saying, what's the? John McCormick.

VB: Ah!

GG: Came down. And this is the programme. So the Regal had stage shows. You know, the Regal at Yarmouth. See that's the last, new place really. And they had stage shows. And then they had eh, as well as films. It was opened as a cinema. And eh-- [pause 3 seconds] Are you hot? Do you feel hot?

VB: Erm, I'm fine.

BG: [laughs]

VB: Just about right I think.

[pause 4 seconds]

GG: 1927. That's Henry Edwards and Chrissie White. They were husband and wife 00:56:00and they were big stars at that time. So you can see how [inaudible] got the people down.

VB: Mhm. 'Cause it was interesting when you were telling me when I first came in about the Merle Oberon--

GG: Yes. Yes.

VB: Opening--

GG: Yes. Erm, she was, did you go the opening of the Regal?

BG: Not the opening, no. I went to the first thing they had there. Was it the The Private Life of Henry VIII?

GG: Well that's what they opened with.

BG: Yes.

GG: And that was what they opened with.

BG: I saw that.

GG: Yes. And eh-- [pause 2 seconds]

BG: This is mine.

GG: I know it is. No-oo, dear!

VB: [laughs]

GG: Erm, no. They had films there. And it was, when that was first built, they 00:57:00said, "People will get killed there." It was a very steep, steep balcony. Didn't they Bernard?

BG: A big range.

GG: Big range. And eh, they had an organ. Come up. Neville Turner, I think he's recently died, erm, was the organist. It used to come up from that hole. They thought it was marvellous, and erm-- There you are, that didn't go, when everything, that had to be pulled down because that lost money on that. And I mean the Gem and the eh, Empire, I mean they're sort of bingo halls and all that sort of thing. They do run films there in the summer, don't they Bernard?

BG: Mhm.

GG: But we've been to the Gem and went to the Empire. But very old-fashioned. But the Gem turned into the Windmill. And they had stage shows. They used to have Gilbert and Sullivan there. Eh, which Bernard was interested in. And erm, 00:58:00erm, I don't know. The cinema has gone down tremendously. Yet they said there was a revival, didn't they?

VB: I think at the moment it seems to be very popular.

GG: Is it in the cities?

BG: Picking up, picking up.

VB: Yeah.

GG: It is in the cities?

VB: I mean there are queues and things again.

GG: Are there really? Again.

VB: Certainly in Glasgow.

GG: I don't think they do here because the only place that sells-- There's a thing in the, Theatre Royal. That's what I got that out for. Erm, the erm... [pause 4 seconds] What was I going to say now?

BG: Well there's a revival in so far as people are getting fed up with the television. [tape cuts out]

[End of Side B]

[End of Tape One]

[Start of Tape Two]

[Start of Side A]

VB: [starts mid conversation] Seems to be better now, it was just sort of sticking. Erm, I mean what sort of films and film stars you enjoyed yourself 00:59:00when you were in the cinema?

GG: Well. Well, oh I can, well, if you've gone back, Ramon Novarro, oh! He was a-- [laughs] He was marvellous. Marvellous. Really. And eh [pause 2 seconds] I think probably more so than eh-- I can remember Greta Garbo in Queen Christina. She was marvellous really. Remember her. Eh [pause 3 seconds] Charlie Chaplin. I mean, I wasn't so much of a Charlie Chaplin fan but you liked him didn't you?

BG: Well I--

GG: People used to rave over him but that wasn't my sort of thing. But eh I can remember Ramon Novarro in Ben-Hur. Oh, he was marvellous. I wouldn't remember so 01:00:00much Rudolph Valentino. That's going a good bit back. But Ramon Novarro, it was marvellous. And people swooned over him and and all sorts. But eh, erm-- [pause 2 seconds]

VB: 'Cause some of the films you were showing me there, I didn't recognise most of them but--

GG: No. They'd be too far back.

VB: Yeah.

GG: They'd be 19... 20s.

VB: Yeah.

GG: You see.

VB: I think Under Two Flags, was that not one with Claudette Colbert in it?

GG: No. I don't know. Claudette Colbert was surely after, later than that.

VB: Yeah. It could even have been a remake of the same film.

GG: Yes.

VB: Because I'm sure I've seen that with her and maybe Ronald Colman in it.

GG: Yeah. Ronald Colman. He was nice. He was nice, Ronald Colman. Claudette Colbert. And eh, eh back to Greta Garbo. She never smiled. She never, but she did, could act, couldn't she?

BG: I don't remember seeing very much of her.


VB: Mhm. What sort of comedians did you like if you weren't fond of Charlie Chaplin?

GG: Eh [pause 2 seconds] Harold Lloyd. He was all right. And then you had the Keystone Cops, didn't you? And eh I don't know, I was not so over won with Charlie Chaplin but he was the winner. And as I said, I remember that [The] Gold Rush. I remember the film he was falling off into the snow and that. But eh, I suppose he was very clever. He was very clever. But being a youngster, Ramon Novarro was marvellous you see. And Mary Pickford. Faintly was her. And 'course Douglas Fairbanks, he's still alive isn't he? Junior. But Douglas Fairbanks. He was very good too.

BG: Senior, you mean.

GG: Senior, yes. He's still alive, his son, isn't he? And he was very good. And 01:02:00erm All Quiet on the Western Front, war pictures, I don't think they appealed to me so much.

VB: Mhm.

GG: So, Jackie Coogan!

VB: Ah.

GG: Oh yes. You had Jackie Coogan. Then you had Mickey Rooney. Mickey Rooney they were all quite good. And erm--

VB: I mean I brought one or two--

BG: What time have you got to go?

VB: Erm, I'm not sure what time the trains run at. I think, are they every hour or something like that?

BG: Oh no, not every hour. Eh, trains to Norwich?

VB: Yes.

BG: No. I wouldn't say every hour.

GG: They're fairly--

BG: But eh, fairly frequently.

VB: Yeah.

GG: Do you know the times? If not, Bernard, ring up and ask.

VB: I've actually got a timetable. I should maybe take a look. Erm, just when you say that.

GG: Ronald Colman, erm, erm--

VB: Yes, I was going to say, I've brought some--


GG: Erm I remember, was it 'Shangri-La'? Or, something like that. Lost Horizon. Would that be 'Shangri-La'? Yes.

VB: I think that is the one. Yes. Erm... they're not as nice as yours! [laughs]

BG: Let's get her times, so she's not late for her train.

GG: What times do the trains go?

BG: [Inaudible]. A good old ride isn't it? From Glasgow down here.

VB: Yes it is. Erm--

GG: Deanna Durbin. Now, now she was nice. She sang nice, didn't she? She was very nice. And eh, 'course Judy Garland. How old would she be? Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Oh yes. Yes. They were good. They did spectacular musicals in that time. [pause 4 seconds]

VB: Let's see. Erm, [pause 5 seconds]. 4.09. 5.10.


BG: Yes. You really want to make for the 5.10.

GG: 5.10.

BG: Yes. You really want to make for the 5.10. And to do that you really want to leave here.

GG: How do you get a bus from here?

VB: Erm, just from the main street.

BG: Walk into Gorleston? Yes. Walk into Gorleston.

VB: Are you going?

GG: You couldn't run her through, could you?

BG: I could run her through to Gorleston.

GG: We'll run you through to the station. Because--

BG: You really, to get that 5.10 you really want to leave here very soon.

GG: I can give you a cup of tea!

VB: Right.

GG: Give you a cup of tea.

BG: You won't have time for a cup of tea.

GG: Well could you take her?

BG: Well yes. I could take her through to Gorleston. I could take her through to Yarmouth.

VB: That would be very kind actually. If you don't mind. I mean I don't want to--

BG: No, no, no.

GG: Yeah. I mean getting buses-- [laughs]

VB: [laughs]

BG: Well I would, I would strongly advise you to leave--

GG: Well get the car out.

BG: I would strongly advise you leave here, well--

GG: Ten past. No. Not for ten past five.


BG: You really want to leave here by ten to five to get there.

GG: That's only twenty-five to four!

BG: Oh-h fine! [inaudible]. Well you've got about another hour.

VB: Yeah. There is actually one at ten past four that I could get.

BG: Would you like to get that one?

VB: That would probably suit me.

GG: Yes.

VB: Because then I can get back into--

BG: Well in that case then you--

GG: Nearly need to go.

BG: Yes. You need to go. [laughs] You need to go!

GG: Eh, yes. Ginger Rogers and the big spectacular films. You see. They were, they were, see the money was spent on them. Oh and erm, what's her name? Eh... [pause 3 seconds] Shir, eh, Shirley Temple.

VB: Oh yes.

GG: Oh I mean she was lovely. Oh yes, she was. Shirley Temple. Oh and Tommy 01:06:00Trinder. He was good. No. I didn't like him.

VB: Ah.

GG: Edward [G.] Robinson. No eh, I never cared for these a lot. No. Not for, my husband does but I didn't. No. [pause 2 seconds] Are you sure I can't do you a quick cup a tea?

VB: E-erm, that might be nice actually. Yes. That'd be lovely. [pause 3 seconds] I mean I've just enjoyed so much looking at your collection of photos.

BG: I don't want to rush you but I think you ought to start moving.

GG: Well if you take her onto the station. Going to make just a quick cup a tea.

BG: Erm, ten past four? I don't think she's got time for a cup of tea, personally. Personally.

GG: Whatever-- [laughs] I'd have done it earlier.

VB: Never mind.

GG: We were so busy talking.

VB: I know. It's--

GG: Would you like a glass of milk?


VB: Erm, no. I'll be fine actually. I'll maybe get something on the train or--

GG: Yeah. Are you sure?

VB: No problem.

GG: Well it'll be a help if he does take you through 'cause he goes through all the bypasses. Through erm, [Southam?] Road and take you to Gorleston Station.

VB: That would be very kind. Yeah.

GG: It's a long journey getting here. And I know, getting on and off buses.

VB: Yeah.

BG: I should pack up if I was you.

VB: I'll do that.

GG: Well it's nice. Now you say those film stars, you see, they were all very good. I never liked the nasty ones. [laughs] Oh, are you sure I can't eh--

VB: I'll be fine just now. I mean I was just thinking though erm, I mean, obviously-- [recording stopped]

[End of Interview]