HAPPY MEMORIES OF PONTEFRACT CINEMAS
ADDED 23 MARCH 2006
was recently given the opportunity, by courtesy of my very dear friend
Barbara, to read a few issues of the Pontefract Edition of the Digest.
Barbara and me have been close friends for over 60 years having first
met at Norton Infants School at the tender age of five!
ten years later, Barbara and her parents moved from Campsall to
Pontefract, but not before we both transferred from Norton Junior School
to continue our education at Pontefract & District Girls High School
(P.D.H.S) Although I remained resident in Doncaster, our friendship
continued throughout our time at P.D.H.S. from 1947-54.
in our retirement years we still keep in touch, meeting for lunch and
the exchange of news on a monthly basis. It was at our latest such
get-together that Barbara showed me the Digest.
pictures and stories brought back many happy memories and I particularly
enjoyed the articles by Norman Blackburn concerning the history of
Pontefract Cinemas. The Crescent in Ropergate was the one we visited
most. Like many teenagers we had our favourite stars. After saving part
of our pocket money for weeks we sent for glossy pictures of those we
liked best. I remember having photos of Gregory Peck and Richard Todd
– will I ever forget him in that tear-jerker "The Hasty
fine building, the Alexandra, also features in my memories. It was there
that I saw "The Robe" and "Scott of the Antarctic".
visit to the Alexandra though had nothing to do with films. It was, at
least once in our early years, the venue for our school Speech Day – a
more solemn and serious occasion!
and pupils were crammed in to listen to what to us seemed endless
speeches from the platform outlining the successes and progress (or lack
of it!) of row upon row of us girls clad in dark brown uniform (a colour
I vowed never to wear in future years!)
news of academic achievements, presentation of certificates and
announcements of University placements etc, we came at last to a lighter
side of the proceedings. This was a resume of the schools sporting year.
Interspersed by bursts of applause, we heard which House (Saxons,
Normans, Tudors or Stuarts) had gained the most points on Sports Day and
how our hockey, netball, tennis and rounders teams had faired against
teams from Castleford, Featherstone, Hemsworth etc. (me and Barbara were
often team members)
whole day was rounded off with our rendition of the school song (lyrics
composed by Miss Illingworth?) and then in a mass of brown we tumbled
out of the Alexandra into the fresh air and wearily trudged uphill to
the town centre to catch our respective buses for home. O happy days!
a ‘Doncastrian’, I’ll never forget those years at Pontefract,
brought to mind again by Mr. Blackburn’s articles on its cinemas.
23 March 2006
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