Bazar brochure Front page of the Bazaar Brochure 1892 held to raise money for the organ at Shortwood Chapel Boys club table tennis Boys table tennis club circa 1982 Cinema Nailsworth Cinema flyer from 1959

This page recalls some of the memories that local people have of the Subscription Rooms. If you have anything that you would like to contribute please do get in touch via the committee.

The following two extracts are from Katie Jarvis' book "Voices of Minchinhampton and Nailsworth", ISBN 0 752422 42 1, used here with her kind permission:

Herbert Creed b. 1917

I used to go to the Picture House quite often. There was a Saturday morning show and, of course, we used to have to sit in the cheap seats – the chicken run – right up against the screen so you had to break your neck looking up. There were a lot of cowboy films with a cowboy called Tom Mix. Kathleen Davis used to watch the film and play the piano accordingly. There’d be a girl on screen who couldn’t pay her mortgage, tied to a railway line by a baddy, and Kathleen would be playing dramatic music to go with it.

When we were 14 or 15, we thought we were too grown-up for the chicken run, so we had to move back a few rows and pay more. Every time anyone got up to walk out to the toilet, their shadow would come across the screen. The film used to break down a lot, and every time it came back on, there would be clapping and cheering. Ticker Beach ran the picture house and he used to have to stop us youths shouting or laughing too much. He’d come up and say, “Now then, you lads, you will be out next time if you do that again.” I can’t say we took much notice of him.

Vera Skone, née Clarke b. 1927

When I was sixteen or seventeen, I was an usherette at the cinema, which was where the Boys’ Club is. The owner was Mr Beach, but he was always known as Ticker Beach. He lived on the Bath Road, and he was a bald-headed man. He used to make us a cup of tea during our break, and he would always put sugar in my tea – though I didn’t take it! You got a bag of crisps too. We had to punch each ticket as people came in, then take part off and put that in a cardboard box. All the tickets were in numbered sequence, and Ticker Beach would go through them all afterwards. He had to check all the numbers for tax reasons.

There were three ticket prices: the chicken run was the first three rows where you got a crick in your neck because the screen was right at you. That cost three pence. The next twelve rows cost six pence. Then the balcony, up the steps, cost nine pence.

My first memory of the cinema is seeing a Mickey Mouse film there. The tune stuck in my memory:

Shall I come down and let you in?
Shall I come down and let you in?
Shall I come down and let you in?
Says the fair young lady.
It’s only me, from over the sea,
Said Barnacle Bill the Sailor.

I was about four or five when I saw it, and I did laugh. I thought the film was so funny.

Allan Beale

I was a member of the Boys’ Club in the mid 1950’s when it was selected to take part in a Gloucestershire ‘pilot’ for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. The scheme consisted of four elements, namely, physical fitness, a hobby, public service and a long hike. I chose bird-watching as my hobby and first aid training as my public service. There were three increasing levels of achievement categorised as Bronze, Silver and Gold.

For my bird-watching I had to walk, listen and observe in the countryside and call at the police stations at Avening, Horsley and Minchinhampton where the policeman on duty would stamp my record book to prove my efforts. I was also tested by a member of the Dursley Bird-watching Club on bird recognition and identification of their songs. 

For the First Aid element we were instructed by a member of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade and then tested on our practical knowledge.

The hike involved a 40-mile trek in the Brecon Beacons including spending one night under canvas. Unfortunately for my hiking partner and me the hike did not go according to plan as we managed to get lost on the mountain, much to the annoyance of the club leader, Arthur Humphries! This resulted in me achieving the Silver Award but not the Gold. 

Three other members of the Boys’ Club did, however, pass their Gold Award and Jeff Greenway, Bob Vick and Rodney Carpenter went on to receive their Awards from the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace.