Wonders of film had the invited audience in awe

Gosport Theatre Cinema (centre right) in High Street in the 1930s. Picture: costen.co.uk
Gosport Theatre Cinema (centre right) in High Street in the 1930s. Picture: costen.co.uk
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The Gosport Theatre Cinema in High Street should not be confused with the nearby Gosport Theatre (1796-1826), for it began life as a theatre/cinema in 1910 having previously been a Wesleyan chapel.

The early proprietor was the Gosport Bioscope Company, which in 1911 invited the inmates of the town’s workhouse to a special show featuring George V’s coronation. Apparently, they could not stop talking for weeks about the wonder of moving films.

West Street, Fareham, taken from East Street. Picture: costen.co.uk

West Street, Fareham, taken from East Street. Picture: costen.co.uk

Between the films, live stage drama was presented regularly. But with the advent of talking films in 1930, Gosport Theatre was primarily a cinema until competition with the larger and more modern Ritz Cinema a few hundred yards away forced it to close its doors in 1938.

The building was later used for Coates’ Auction Rooms and Rumbelows electrical store.

The other two pictures here were taken at Fareham.

The first is captioned ‘Fareham Railway’, but it looks to me as though these men were working on tram lines in the vicinity of Quay Street, Fareham. I’d be grateful for clarification of the location and a potential date.

The third photograph, from the collection of Waterlooville photographer and collector Paul Costen, shows West Street, Fareham, shot from the junction of East Street and High Street.