Tarzan heralds new North End cinema

The letter of commendation from the Southern Railway management. It took two months to send it.

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On this day in 1938 the former Empire Cinema in Stamshaw Road, Portsmouth, built in 1911 as the North End Cinema, was reopened as the Forum – spelled out in a new neon sign.

It was showing a ‘colossal’ two-feature programme, Will Hay in Oh, Mr Porter and Glenn Morris in Tarzan’s Revenge.

The new lavish interior boasted ‘tangerine’ as ‘the predominant hue’ and, at a time when mass smoking could obscure the view of the screen, a state-of-the-art Plenum ventilation plant ensured that stale air was extracted to be replaced by filtered fresh air – John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.