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Memories of The Regal, Wells-next-the-Sea by Jean Chapman

‘I was born in 1944 and in 1954 my mother, who was then on crutches, would love to go to the cinema’. The cinema was called the Regal in Clubbs Lane

‘But there was a problem’; In order to enter the auditorium, you would have to go up a flight of stairs  – ‘impossible for her!’. I would go into the foyer, inform the usherette, and buy two tickets. Then Mum and I would the walk down the outside of the building and walk in through the exit doors. ‘I used to feel so embarrassed because the whole room would go quiet and watch us walk in’

‘But the good thing about it was that I got to go to the ‘pictures’ (as we used to call it) twice a week at an early age. Hence my lifelong love of films.’

‘If I remember rightly there was always a (B) movie first, then the Pathe news, then the main feature film.’ The Romantic films were not as explicit as they are now – ‘they used to leave things to our imagination’. ‘The good always triumphed over the baddie and there was no bad language –  which reminds me – on Saturday morning’s I would go to the children’s cinema with my friends. It was more often than not a western and my favourite was Roy Rodgers (dressed in white) with his horse ‘Trigger’ (also white). You knew who the baddie was because he was always dressed in black.’

‘I could always Regal wells pyaxleyloose myself in a film. If it was bad, tears would pour down my face.’

‘I used to bite my nails but when I was about fifteen my dad said he would give me a ten-shilling note if I stopped. Well I really tried hard and every finger had some growth. But I went to the pictures and saw a film. I think it was called ‘The Concrete Jungle’.

‘When we came out I was horrified to see I had bitten all my nails. I never did get my ten-shilling note.’

At around age fifteen/ sixteen, on Saturday afternoon’s, I used to go to the Cinema with my boyfriend. ‘We only ever held hands but I was always worried that the usherette would tell my dad!’

I don’t know if this is any help with your archives, but it has certainly bought back lovely memories of all the past actors and actresses. Such as Doris Day and Rock Hudson, Audrey Hepburn and Spencer Tracey, and Laurence Bacall and Humphrey Boghart.

‘I would also swoon over Alan Ladd, and it didn’t matter that I later learnt he was short so his leading ladies often had to walk beside him in a trench.’



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