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The Boy Cinema Projectionist

The Globe/ The Enterprise

An early entrepreneur in the Norwich cinema scene was young Alfred Warminger. At the age of 13 he became manager of his own cinema specifically for children, The Globe, in a wooden hut behind his father’s pub in the Elm Hill area. In the Globe, which opened in 1933, children sat on wooden seats after paying the 1d entrance money. Some box office assistance was provided by Alfred’s sister Emily and a friend Leonard Britcher, who was the commissionaire. In only a few months Alfred had made a profit of £70 and decided to branch out into a bigger cinema.

With his father’s backing he opened The Enterprise in Northumberland Street in 1934 with more seats. This cinema cost £1500 and was equipped for sound films. A gala opening by the Norwich Lord Mayor Fred Jex drew the crowds which filled the 250 seat cinema. Hundreds of children were turned away as they could not get in. In later life Alfred recalled that there were lots of good films that children enjoyed, like Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy. Margery Dix recalls that the children were well behaved and the atmosphere was a lot calmer than in the bigger city cinemas of the time. Margery remembers seeing comedy films, westerns and a documentary about whales. In an EDP article Maurice Middleton recalled that the entrance fee was a 1lb jam jar and a halfpenny or a 2lb jar and a rabbit skin.

Eventually the premises were sold and became a slipper factory which was demolished in 1987. Among the debris on the site was the original Enterprise sign. As an adult Alfred went on to bigger things. He took a mobile cinema around the county playing in village halls. In the Second World War he served as a Flight Lieutenant. After leaving the RAF he continued flying as a glider pilot. In 1957 he achieved a record breaking flight of almost 30,000ft which is a height used by passenger jets today.

Alfred’s mother, Mottie Warminger, became the landlady of the Ferry Boat pub in King Street in 1945 and presided over the bar for 30 years ‘with queenly grace’ until the ripe old age of 85.

Alfred inherited his father’s waste paper business. ‘Warminger Wants Waste Paper’ was a slogan that everybody knew and he became one of the biggest merchants in the country. In 1960 he became the Sherriff of Norwich. After a very eventful life Alfred died in 1995.

Mike Hutchinson

 

Acknowledgements:

Eastern Daily Press, Canberra Times, Lakes Gliding Club, Mrs M. Dix, Frances and Michael Holmes (Norwich Pubs and Breweries Past and Present), David Cleveland.

6 Responses

  1. Alfred was my cousin. I lived in Norwich until 1957 when I came to Anerica. I last visited with him the day before I came to America. He was,a very nice person and interested in our family. We did not keep in touch which I regret to this,day…m

  2. George Rogers

    Yes Alf Warminger was CO of the 611 ATC Gilding Scool at RAF Swanton Morley, I remembered the day only to well in his glider he made the height climb to 30,000ft, I on that day I been winching the ATC gliders off, we had just packed up for lunch with all the ATC cadets having gone to the airmens mess, with the weather very good with a lot of thermals. Having parked up the ATC Gliders, I helped Alf to get his own private glider out of the hanger, I winch him off into good good area of lift.
    I had his car beside the winch which had a two way radio fitted so he could keep intouch with the retrieve crew,.
    Alf reported he was climbing very fast in strong turbulence in cloud with lift gauge of the clock and was by then passing 5000ft then 8000ft ,12000ft and had started using his oxygen and before long was passing 20,000ft in very rough turbulent lift, I remember him being now very excited as he reported then passing though 28,000ft he then reported he broken out in to clear air and was about 30.000ft. And had the wash north of Kings Lynn below him. And was now returning to Swanton.
    The only thing that marred the day was as the storm passed though it blow over some of the ATC gliders with a lot of damage.
    Alf was a very good pilot and instructor, he was one of the instructors whom I was under, I went solo on the 27th October 1957 gaining my A&B certificates and 5th June 1959 C gliding Certificate. Later on gaining a PPL with The Norfolk and Norwich Aero Club, I then use to fly Alf Tiger Moth G-AODT which I use to tow his and other gliders from Swanton. I could not have been trained by better pilot than Alf Warminger having been a Hurricane pilot in war,

  3. David Barrett

    I found your article when searching for information about Alfred, after seeing a feature about him in the November 1934 edition of “Home Movies and Home Talkies” magazine (inherited from my late father-in-law, Ken Eade, who was a keen cine film enthusiast). I shall post a picture of the article to the Facebook group Norfolk in old photographs and postcards.

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