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