Kathleen Southworth (KS-22-004)

Kathleen Southworth as Rose Queen, Kings Hall Bolton, 1932 (KS-22-004PH001)

Kathleen Southworth was born in Bolton in 1921, one of three children. Both her parents were teachers. She left school at the age of sixteen and throughout most of her career worked as a secretary. Aside from war service in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, she lived in Bolton all her life. In October 2021 Miss Southworth’s niece, Margaret Marks, attended Cinema Memory and the Digital Archive’s screening event at Bolton Little Theatre and told the research team about her late aunt’s 1930s diaries and the many trips to the cinema recorded in them. Mrs Marks later loaned these diaries--which cover the years 1932 (when Miss Southworth turned eleven), 1933, 1934, 1937, 1938, and 1939--and provided further information, including a resumé of Miss Southworth’s life and a list of films that she saw during 1936, one of the years for which there is no diary.

In the earlier diaries, Miss Southworth’s visits to the cinema—undertaken with regularity on Saturday evenings and very often during the week as well--are recorded as being made in the company of family members. In later years, she would usually be accompanied by a female friend, with the Queen’s Picture House and the Hippodrome favourite haunts. Film titles are invariably noted, as are the diarist’s picturegoing companions, while as often as not stars are named too: across the six diaries around five hundred films and film personalities are named. In nineteen-thirty-seven, for example, around eighty cinema visits are recorded, while ten film titles are noted for the month of January alone. All in all, the diaries evidence an active social and cultural life, with Chapel--attended every Sunday, often more than once--at its centre. There were family trips to Manchester, too, to see plays, as well as holidays in Blackpool and other seaside resorts, and visits to and from friends and relatives. Diary entries generally confine themselves to recording everyday activities—with very occasional allusions to wider events: “Work. Went into town at night. Was fitted with gas mask” (21 June 1938); “Work. Germany invaded Poland and bombed 8 towns. General Mobilisation declared in France and Gt. Britain. Lighting restricted” (1 September 1939).

Document scan (KS-22-004PL001) | Transcript
Document scan (KS-22-004PL002) unavailable | Transcript | Listing of cinemas, films and stars mentioned
Document scan (KS-22-004PW001) unavailable | Transcript | Listing of cinemas, films and stars mentioned
Document scan (KS-22-004PW002) unavailable | Transcript