Freda McFarland (FM-95-189)

Rialto Picture Playhouse, Bolton (1936)
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In May 1995, Freda McFarland came into contact with Cinema Culture in 1930s Britain via the Bolton WEA (Workers' Educational Association) Local History Study Group, and joined the twenty-two individuals living in the Greater Manchester area who were interviewed for the project as core informants later that year. One of four children, Mrs McFarland was born in Wigan, Lancashire in 1916 and moved to Bolton at the age of five. Her father was a joiner and her mother a housewife who died when Mrs McFarland was twelve years old. After leaving school at fourteen, Mrs McFarland embarked on a series of jobs, including factory work, waitressing, and work in a tannery. She was interviewed at her home in Bolton on 7 June 1995.

Mrs McFarland observes that Bolton boasted more than twenty cinemas during the 1930s, and in the course of her interview names, locates and describes most of them--while stressing that she herself was not a regular cinemagoer until she met her film-loving husband-to-be in 1934. She briefly mentions some film stars that she liked, and talks at greater length about leisure activities of her youth such as Sunday school, outdoor play, and dancing. She discusses her interest in local history, including her published research on the Morris Green area of Bolton, and offers vivid accounts of local church customs and mourning rituals. She recollects details of her mother's funeral, of a camping trip with the Girl Guides, and of her own early working life, weaving into her account reflections on the expected role of girls and young women within the household in the interwar period.

Documents, Memorabilia and Related Links
Bolton home page
Opening of the Capitol Cinema, Bolton (1920s) ( site)
Bolton local history site: Daubhill ( site)

Publication related to Mrs McFarland's interview:
McFarland, F. (1988). The History of Morris Green.