Bagshot Institute, Princes Cinema and the TA Hall
Martin Tapsell has written pointing out:
Although you say you have no cinema, I believe you once had one in the former Public Hall (1900) from March, 1913. It came to be known as the Princes Cinema and seated around 355. I would be interested if anyone could confirm this, as it is an interest of mine.
Martin is indeed correct, the hall had been better known as The Institute. A history book I have describes films being shown there from 1913. However at least in its early days I assume the building must have been multi-use for the Women's Institute met there, moving to the Parish Hall in 1923 when that building was opened.
Many people, both residents and expatriates who have written to me, have described with affection their enjoyment of the Cinema.
"I can remember the cinema in Bagshot but I can't remember going to it. We used to go to Saturday morning pictures in Camberley, sixpence to get in, tuppence each way for the bus, and tuppence to spend on sweets. The cinema in Bagshot was turned into the Huntley and Palmer factory and the trucks used to go down Park Street."
The late Alan Gosden wrote:
"The institute was definitely used by a biscuit packing co. was it H & P. I remember it well in the early 50s, a barber's and a couple of other shops were located at the front. It was burnt out in a fire in the mid 50's (I remember seeing the blackened rear of the building, though the front was reasonably intact) and the large clock was transferred to its present location on the shop next door because the fire had left the institute structurally unsound.
"Around 1910 my grandfather had sung in variety shows at the Institute."
Kirko confirms "Yes it was Huntley and Palmers buscuits that were packed at the old cinema. and the last film there was the Browning Version." [Apr 12]
Michael , a former resident now living in the USA, says:
Do you remember the Bagshot cinema?, a grand old place. I spent many a Saturday watching Treasure Island, the adventures of PC49, Mighty Joe Young and other movies there. It's too bad it's no longer in operation. . My wife and I vacationed in England in 2000. We visited Bagshot; my how the place had changed.
The Bagshot Cinema was reopened in 1948. I remember going to the reopening with my mother and grandmother. The movie that was showing that night was Kind Hearts and Coronets.
From Ron Frost
I can certainly confirm that "Kind Hearts and Coronets" starring Alec Guiness was the firm shown on the reopening of the Princess Cinema. I went there that evening with my Father, the one and only time I went with my Father alone as my Mother was in Woking Hospital.
The cinema was not a very grand place and the film would break quite often and the audience would shout out. There were small gas lights over the emergency doors. The programme changed every two days with a different film on Sundays. ref 612.0206
Peter Malynn writes
I too remember the cinema in the High Street. I believe the building ended its days as a plastics factory. I also used to go to see films at the TA hall. and was a founder member of the bagshot boxing club which started life at the old RC Church in Vicarage Road then moved into the TA Hall does anyone rember the boxing club it was run by the RC priest Rev Porter?
From Ken Wills
The old Princess Cinema in the High Street burned down in the sixties. I worked in there when it was a glass fibre factory called Integral Plastics as my second job after leaving school in Bagshot in 1958, my first job being at the International stores in the High Street for 2 years. ref 637.0206
From Frank Papworth
My grandparents opened the Papworths electrical shop next to the cinema in the square. We (my parent my sister) moved there when I was about 8, so that was 1960. By that time the cinema had been displaced by the plastics factory. This only occupied the rear area and there were indeed some shops at the front. For a time my dad rented one for the storage and display of the bycycles he sold (an add on to the electrical business which in turn was a progression from the garage my grandad started down at the arches (viaduct).
The plastics factory burnt down about 1965. I rememeber it well. I had been staying at a friend' splace in Aldershot for the weekend. When I was walking back from the railway station I could see that the place had been burnt down from some distance away. I ran home concerned that our place may have also damaged as well, but all was OK. Dad told the story of how everybody helped take all the goods out as a precaution.
The burned out shell stayed abandond for years before redevlopement. At one point we "rescued" some bricks to build a bike shed against the workshops. This may still be there. ref 650.0306
From Ann Roberson (nee Kircher)
I remember seeing The Glass Mountain at the Princess cinema with my mother, Lilian Kircher, and brother Jim, a real tear jerker film. 6118.906
Another Ann writes:
My grandfather, James Anderson, ran the Cinema which was previously the reading rooms (I think). Has anyone any information or photoghaphs of this. There was a photograph in the A&E Department at Frimley Park at one time, but they could not tell me where it was from. Feb10
Then and Now
These two views are as near to being the same as I can manage.
I had understood the upper one to have been taken about 1910, but cannot be sure of this. The Institute is the ivy covered building with the clock on it in the old picture.
In today's view you will see that the Institute has been replaced by offices (called Bagshot House) above two shop fronts (presumably built in the 1950's following the fire in the old building, and certianly well before 1973 when I moved to Bagshot), and the clock (not the same one but a modern replacement) is on the adjacent building.
Apart from the demolition of the Kings Arms pub on the left (it was rebuilt further back) the rest of the buildings are still basically as they were the best part of a century ago.
A reader has sent me the programme for May 1950, so the cinema must have been in business then. Seat prices were 1s3d, 1s9d and 2s3d (6p, 9p and 11p in new money).
Sonia Cording confirms: The old cinema did become a plastics factory. I was working in the estate agents Lewis & Co, which was an office at the front of the factory, and the bus stop directly outside, when the fire occurred one evening in the 60's. I am still in touch with the proprietor Zelda Lewis. Jan 13
Richard has written telling of another cinema:
'I used to live in Bagshot from 1951-1957 and used to be a bellringer at St Annes. Does anyone remember the old 'Bug Hutch' Cinema next to the Viaduct by the old cadet and TA Hall. The place brings back fond memories of a mis-spent childhood!'
The old cadet / TA hall is still there (or at least I think that is what the building is) but I haven't a clue what it is used for now.
Alan Gosden says: I remember the bug hutch well, it was part of the British Legion buildings. Films were shown on a Saturday evening throughout the winter, by a Mr Heywood. it was all great fun with chips from the chip shop afterwards.
From John Evans : The Saturday night British Legion film shows were run by Mr Hayward and also ran on Wednesdays in Lightwater and Fridays in Windlesham. In the event of any misbehaviour he would threaten to finish the evening without the traditional Popeye Cartoon - this was guaranteed to work every time! 8056.708
Marilyn Hills (nee Kircher) wrote to me : I to used to go to "the bug hutch" a real treat for us kids. As I recall we all sat in chairs that were in rows (no gradients) and the nearer the front the dearer it was. I also recognise many of the names of the corespondents who have written to your web pages with their memories, but do they remember me, and our Jim, Michael and Ann Kircher from Bagshot Green? Hello to you all, I hope life is treating you well, I would welcome anyone contacting me who shared those happy carefree days. 6124.906 I will be pleased to forward any messages to Marilyn.
Peter Malynn writes: I also used to go to see films at the TA hall and was a founder member of the Bagshot boxing club which started life at the old RC church in Vicarage Road then moved into the TA hall . Does anyone remember the boxing club, it was run by the RC priest Rev Porter. Peter has sent a 1958 photo of the members of the boxing club. Can you help identify who is on it? Nov 05
Another corespondant had written : In my time (late 50's early 60's) Father Flannagan was the priest who taught boxing on the lawn of the Catholic Oratory (where the children's photo was taken). Bearing in mind the teachings of the church I recall it confused me greatly why a priest was teaching boys to fight. This writer is probably mistaken as to which priest was involved as other correspondents tell me that it was Father Porter, one adding that he used to ride a motor bike.
James Legge writes from the USA : I myself learnt boxing from a priest there, I cannot remember his name but I know he used to take us for rides in a mini bus around Chobham Common when we were finished. Dec 05
Robert Allen writes from Canada : I remember Farther Porter, he used to take us to Camberley to box. Bagshot boxing club was later moved to a butchers shop in the back of a barn in Windlesham. I believe the gentelman who use to train us was Mr Mainville. 604.0406
Lee asks about a Boxing Club as far back as 1913 - 1923. Apparently my grandfather used to box as a teenager and there once existed photographs to this effect. He used to live in South Farm as a child and by deduction my mother and I think the club must have been in Bagshot although Lightwater and Windlesham would be possible if they had such things. i9
From Rod Winter: Robert Allen from Canada is correct to say the boxing
club moved from the TA hall in Bagshot into the 'old slaughter house' and
storage barn behind the butchers shop in Updown Hill Windlesham about 1958/59
( I cannot recal the name of the butchers shop ). The butcher was an ex pro
boxer named Bob Rainsford who also helped to train the young and up and coming
youths to box. Winter Patterson was also a man who helped the youngsters
to train and helped with the clubs administration. iii9
To which Philip Brown adds I understand from a person who lives in Windlesham that the butchers shop in Updown Hill was called Grimditch Webb. vi9
From Ann Roberson (nee Kircher) I believe my brother Michael Kircher was in the boxing club, seem to recall Father Porter used to collect up the boys and take them to the club,
From David Kell: The boxing club was definitely started by Father Porter and he did have a motorbike. He used to lunch with us every Thursday. He was a very personal person but had a heart of gold and did a lot for the community in keeping kids off the streets including non-Catholics. I think one of his boxers got to the ABA finals but I cannot remember his name. Oct10
Richard Rosser asks: Did any of the readers here belong to the Bagshot Army Cadets between 1951-57. We used to meet in the small hut next to the 'Bug Hutch' one evening a week and went and 'played soldiers' on Bagshot Heath - often to the disgust of the evening dog-walkers! We also used to travel to Stoughton Barracks in Guildford for proficiency tests and once a year we all went off in 3 ton lorries to a camp somewhere in England.
The only fellow reprobates' names that I remember are the Summerton brothers, but would love to hear from any 2/5th Queens Cadets from that time period. (I ended up in the Queens Royal Regiment for 9 years!) 333.507
Peter Summerton and Ken Wills responded. From Peter:. Our summer camp
location in 1956 was changed from an army camp to the village hall in Haselmere
due to the Suez Canal crisis. Our platoon won the 5-side football competition
and I still have my medal. 7068.807
And from Ken: I was in the Army cadets in Bagshot and remember going to camp at Shornclife in Kent 1957. I think the platoon commander was a Lt.Todd from the Old Dean estate. I later did 16 yrs in the Queens Rgt.T.A. at Guildford. I remember Richard Rosser he was older than me and Peter Summerton was one of my best friends and would love to here from him after all these years. 637.1107
And from David Parrant (Bill) : I was in the cadats from 1950 to 1954 and remember going to Colchester cadet camp and I served in Queen's Royal Regiement at Stoughton Barracks, Guildford and finished my national service in Germany .I went into the army in 1956. Nov09
If you have any further knowledge about any of these matters, I would love to hear from you.
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