NOSTALGIA: Old Portsmouth cinemas brought back to life
For most of us Portsmouth's old cinemas are just a fond memory. To think, there were once more than a dozen whereasÂ today there isn't one left that I would call a '˜proper' picture house.
But there's someone out there who cares so much about our old cinemas that he makes intricate scale models of them.
Model-makingÂ supremo David Barber contacted me about his hobby.
Now 73 he tells me:Â 'I am a great cinema building enthusiast, of the wonderful but sadly now all gone art deco cinemasÂ that used to be in Portsmouth.
'˜IÂ also have built twoÂ working models of them, with LEDÂ lighting and theyÂ also take a seven-inch screen DVD player. '˜Â
David says he belongs to Portsmouth premierÂ model railway club, Victory Model Railway Club, and hasÂ shown theseÂ working models at itsÂ exhibitions in the city and other locations to which they get invited.
He adds: '˜The models have caused sensations with members of theÂ public, who say it is something very original, as most model cinemasÂ on model railway layout are just the front of the building in the high street. It goes to show what can be achieved.
'˜In 2011 I did an exhibitionÂ ofÂ fourÂ models I made which went on show at the Aspex Gallery. They were the Odeon North End,Â Majestic, Kingston Road,Â Essoldo, Albert Road and the Criterion Gosport.
'˜In 2010 I also made a broadcast on Express FM with Robin Kay all about the cinemaÂ wonderful interiors.Â My models are all hand-made from scratch, copied from photos and myÂ photographic memory.Â IÂ am planning to build twoÂ more, the Odeon Muswell Hill in north LondonÂ and the Gaiety, Southsea.'
And David made this plea.Â 'What I amÂ trying to find, for my own personal use, for model-making purposes andÂ my own record, are photographs of the auditoriums of theÂ following Portsmouth cinemas. I have searched everywhereÂ without success for photos ofÂ the stage, and looking back at the projection box.
'˜The cinemas are:Â Tivoli, CopnorÂ Road;Â Classic, Commercial Road;Â Essoldo, Eastney;Â Gaiety, Southsea;Â Shaftesbury, Kingston Road;Â Forum, Stamshaw;Â Curzon, Waterlooville;Â Rex, Fratton Road, and the Plaza at Bradford Junction.'
If anyone can help David in his mission please contact him viaÂ [email protected].
'¢I have no idea what year the choir on the facing page might have been singinginÂ but I am sure there must beÂ someone who can enlighten me.
They are boys of HMS Vernon cadets in the years most of the local establishments had there own cadet section. Any information and names would be appreciated.