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Empire Cinema

Turret’s Chocolate Liqueurs | Motorcycle garage | Hailwood House 

Click the pictures to enlarge (not the posters)

Empire Cinema c.1950
Empire Cinema c.1950

Located on Palmerston Street where Hailwood House is today, the Empire Cinema was pictured in c.1950. There were two films showing that week, the main feature being:

The Adventures of Robin Hood a 1938 American Technicolor swashbuckler film directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley and starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, and Claude Rains. [Wikipedia]

… supported by:

Western Union a 1941 American Western film, also in Technicolor, directed by Fritz Lang and starring Robert Young, Randolph Scott, and Dean Jagger. Virginia Gilmore, an actress born to a British Army officer, also featured – she was married to Yul Brynner in later years. [Wikipedia]

Bird's eye view, 1928
Bird’s eye view, 1928
Programme for one week in December 1955

Aerial view of Bollington (from Britain From Above) showing the Empire Cinema. Look for the bright road surface in the bottom right of the picture. The cinema is the building immediately above.

The site was ideally suited for a cinema because the land sloped down from front to back of the building. Consequently the seats could be raked down the natural lie of the land, giving everyone a perfect view of the screen. In the days before television, the cinema was the only entertaining escapist activity available. It also had the great advantage for teens and twenties of being in the dark! However, the manager, Mr Whittaker, and his staff went to great pains to ensure that there was no hanky panky on the back (or any other) row! There was often a very popular show on Saturday mornings for pre-teen children. When TV became affordable and popular after the Coronation in 1953, cinema going went into decline, and the Empire closed in 1955.

The Empire was actually the second cinema in Bollington. The first was the Imperial Picture Palace located in Foundry Street.

In modern times there used to be two cinemas in Macclesfield, both now closed, but you may be able to see a film at Pott Shrigley school where a volunteer team put on monthly shows under the heading Flix in the Stix.

Turret’s Chocolate liqueursChocolate liqueur presentation box

After the Empire Cinema closed in 1955, the building was taken over by Turret Chocolates (Liqueurs) Ltd, their business being in the title. The liqueurs were proper alcoholic and could be sold only in licensed premises!

The little (c.15cm square) chocolate liqueur box (right) made a fine presentation box for a no doubt excellent product. It is designed to look like a book. Unfortunately, our only example has suffered a fair bit of ware on the front and the corners.

Motor Cycle garage

After chocolates came motorcycles. This workshop specialised in maintaining and tuning racing bikes and in particular prepared bikes for world champion Mike Hailwood.

Hailwood House

The original building reached the end of it’s days (c.2000) and was demolished, to be replaced by an apartment building which was required to be the same size and shape as the original (well nearly).