~ Gallery - Amenities ~
Cinema
The Alexandra Cinema, Redhall Road.
The Cinema was opened in 1912, built using remnants from an old chapel, and it was originally called the 'Alexandra Hall', a wooden framed building clad in corrugated iron.
In the Kinematograph Year Book, 1928, it is listed as just 'The Picture House'.
The proprietors in 1931 were Alexandra Halls (Midlands) Limited.
A fire destroyed the Cinema in 1931
1931 Disaster - destroyed by fire and death of projectionist.
On 27 August, 1931 during a period when the picture house was being re-fitted with sound equipment for the 'Talkies', the building was gutted by fire causing the tragic fatality of the projectionist Frank Danks.
Just before the evening performance was about to start, the proprietor Ernest Jones, who was in the projection room, was alerted by Mr. Danks of a fire in the re-winding room where he was working.
Mr. Jones dragged Mr Danks out of the building, but Danks was badly burned, he was taken to Dudley Guest Hospital where he died shortly afterwards.
At the inquest, the Coroner returned a verdict of accidental death after a thorough inquiry was held, but the Coroner remarked "How the fire commenced remains a mystery which non of us can clear up" and commented on the inadequacies of the projection room.
Despite this set-back, the cinema was rebuilt and the 'Alexandria Cinema' was opened again in 1933.
Work is proceeding apace on the new cinema which is being erected at Lower Gornal on the site of the one destroyed by fire in August.
Roofing operations are well in hand, and it is understood that the house will be opened early in the new year. W.N. Wright, of Springfield Grove, Sedgley, is the architect, and the proprietor is A.E.G. Jones, of Merry Hill, Wolverhampton.

Journal: 'The Bioscope', December 16, 1931.

The proprietor in 1933 was Ernest A. Grenville Jones who was also proprietor of the 'Castle Cinema' in Dudley.
Kinematograph Yearbook 1939
In 1939 it is listed as Alexandra Hall (Imperial), propriators W.H. Smith & K.F. Jones with 500 seats ranging from 3d to 1s.
In the same year, the picture house was aquired by the 'Cinema Accessories' company, part owned by Sidney Clift, who had built up the Clifton cinema chain over a great number of years.
The Company already had a number of cinemas throughout the Black Country, including the Clifton in Sedgley and the newly built Clifton in Coseley.
In 1947 The Alexandra was reported to have 400 seats with prices ranging from 7d to 1s 6d.
(C.Davies)
The external iron stairway on the left of the building led to the projection room.
The wings accommodated the ticket office on the outside of the building.
"Why the 'Bump'"?
In the early days, the building was powered by a gas engine driven generator, the engine would have run on coal gas produced at the local gas works.
These gas engines had a very low cycle of combustion, the regular and repetitive explosive 'thud' that came from the adjoining generating shed, gave rise to the locals nicknaming the picture house 'The Bump'
The Cinema closed on the 24th of September, 1966.
In November 1969, the venue became 'The Gay Throstle’ -a local branch of the West Bromwich Albion Supporters 'Throstle' Clubs, several of these clubs sprang up around this time in the West Midlands due to the Baggies FA Cup Final success in 1968.
By the 1980s, the Throstles had closed and the building was finally demolished in 1983.
A housing development containing ten residential flats took place on the plot after 1985, and they have taken on the name 'Alexandra Court'.
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The Jack Darby Picture House.
Situated on the main Dudley Road, A459, Upper Gornal.
The Picture House opened in 1911 and was one of the first in the area.
1950
Kinematograph Year Book, 1950
The premises was originally built as a Public Hall in 1882 and a little later also used as a Drill Hall, after which it was converted into a Picture House, it was known locally as 'Jack Darbys' after the original Picture House proprietor, it was also called the 'Blood Tub' (due the regularity of horror movies no doubt),
The Sedgley tram depot occupied the side and rear of the building.
The Cinema closed in 1960.
The cinema, now closed and unloved in the above photo as a trolleybus passes by The Leopard on its way to Dudley.
The building existed as an independent DIY firm 'County Wallpapers' which was trading from here as a wallpaper and decorating store for many years, in 2017 it became a furniture store.
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