Many people may not realise that a super small cinema with
230 seats, once existed at Atlantic Road, Delabole. Films were changed
twice weekly back in the 1950s when I was the chief projectionist. We used
to have an evening performance at 7.30pm and a matinee at 5pm on
Saturdays. There was a children’s matinee on Saturday mornings and in the
summer, if wet, we held an afternoon show.
My own early memories of ‘The Regal’ was in the 1940s and my mother and
two sisters often walked from Tintagel to Delabole to ‘go to the
pictures’. After the show we would often purchase some fish and chips from
a small shop at the top of Medrose Street.
During the time I was employed at the Regal the cinema would be busy most
evenings and particularly on Wednesday and Friday nights when Fry’s
Coaches arrived. There were also buses from Port Isaac and Camelford (Tags
In 1952 I was a so called 'Rewind Boy’ at the Tower Cinema, Launceston and
I applied for the Regal job after just 6 months.. Mr. Arthur Long, was the
manager and I started employment at the princely wage of £4.10s per week
for about 55 hours work.
In the projection box we had two excellent BTH Mark 1 projectors,
which rarely gave any trouble. Part of my job entailed ‘spooling on and
off’ the film which did not arrive on metal reels. Each join had to be
inspected and a picture of ‘yours truly’ is shown rewinding a 35mm film.
Admission prices were 9d, 1s.6d, and 2s.3d when I first arrived at the
Regal. The most popular films I showed at the cinema were, A Queen Is
Crowned, Genevieve, Doctor In The House and Knights of the Round Table,
which was filmed at Tintagel.
My work also meant that I had to check the seating, car park, put up the
large poster outside and even deliver and glue, all the small posters in
every village!!. Oh and I also had to check the toilets!!!. And take
bookings over the phone and etc., etc, etc!!
I loved the cinema work but decided to leave and in 1958 joined Bush Radio
Ltd at Ernesettle in Plymouth. Ray Neilson, who used to have a shop in
Tintagel in the war years, got me a job in the laboratories and I was
employed in the development of tuners for television. In 1960 I founded my
own television business at Tintagel, which closed at the end of July
2001.. The cinema was sadly burnt to the ground in 1970. I am sure if it
had survived, today it would have been a very important part of the
entertainment scene in this area. A tragedy.
Chief Projectionist at the Regal in the 1950's
The Show Begins David Flower Michael Blake (Friend) Our
New Wide Screen
The two stills above were taken from a roll of 35mm movie film found
in the projection box at the Regal Cinema in the 1950s. The advert was for
my father's business he had at Tintagel, a Greengrocer/Bakery, & today it
is the Fresh & Local Shop.
Does anyone remember the advert run at the Regal Cinema, Delabole, during
The photographs associated with this article were taken by David Flower
and are copyright and can not be used without permission of the owner.
The Regal Cinema in Atlantic Road, Delabole, opened on the 30th December
1930. The cinema had 230 seats but no balcony & was owned
by Cornwall Cinemas (Newquay).
had it's own large car park &
served a wide local area. During the 1930s for a short time the cinema
was called the Picturedrome
but reverted back to the Regal later. The cinema was taken over by
Regal (Delabole) Ltd and was
owned by George Graver, who already had the Picture House, Bude.
In it's final
years it was purchased by
Arthur Long, who managed it along with his wife on the Pay desk and his son Ron as
. Arthur asked the District Council to subsidise the Cinema
but they refused
to help so the death knell for the dear Regal sounded.
It was closed in the 1960s & sadly burnt to the ground in 1969
& this treasured cinema was lost to the area.
The Regal is No More ...Photos
Courtesy David Stacey
The fire bells went down at 3-12 am. on
Sunday 2nd November 1969, for the Regal fire. You may wonder how I know
these details, well the answer to that is I was driving the second fire
vehicle, and the smoke was hell when we got to the top of Pengelly. It
was a job the see the entrance to Atlantic road & I had to go up past
the Cinema to a hydrant in the far council house garden, which was
fireman Tommy Collins house. Sparks from the fire caught Charlie Cory's
workshop on fire with all his paint burning fiercely.
A cup of tea was given to all the men by
Mrs.Winnie Lush who stills lives in the same house today in 2010.
Words by David Stacey
Tower Cinema, Launceston
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