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Flickering Memories

A History of the Cinema in Ashton-under-Lyne

By Philip Martin Williams & David L. Williams

To mark 100 years of moving pictures Tameside Leisure services have published a history of the cinemas of Ashton-under-Lyne from their beginnings to the 1990’s.

Flickering Memories is a full account of their history.

In the 1920s and 1930s Ashton-under-Lyne was able to support nine cinemas. This was the heyday of the cinema in Britain as those in work had the spare cash to spend on entertainment and welcomed the escapism offered by films. Ashton could offer the luxury of the lavish ‘picture palaces’ like the Majestic with its orchestra, lounge and cafe or the simpler pleasures of the wooden seats of the ‘Bunnydrome’, as the Ryecroft Cinema was nicknamed (because of its previous life as a cake and bun manufacturer’s premises).

The authors have made use of oral and documentary evidence, particularly contemporary accounts in the Ashton Reporter, and have produced a full and detailed account of the rise of these cinemas and their decline after the Second World War. Their enthusiasm for their subject will be evident to all readers.

“The authors have written a thorough study of the subject… This is a very worthwhile piece of social history and Tameside MBC deserve congratulations for publishing yet another book on local history”. Altrincham History Society.

“The brothers Philip and David Williams, both born and educated in Ashton-under-Lyne, have jointly written an absorbing history of the cinemas in their home town… “The volume, including a foreword by Bob Monkhouse, expertly draws together information gleaned from the local press, posters, structures, and interviews with many people involved, and is well illustrated”. Lancaster University Centre for Regional Studies – Issue No 10.

“Adopting a narrative approach through seven chapters focusing on the chronological phases of cinema history, the Williams brothers 96page A4 well written account is of particular value not only as it records the origin, development and decline of each of Ashton’s 11 cinemas but more particularly because of the way its gets these into a civic, economic and legislative context.... ‘Flickering Memories’ has rather more references to the actual films shown than many other picture-house histories… ‘Flickering Memories’ is nonetheless a ‘must’ for all cinema enthusiasts”.Marcia Bioscope Magazine.

“People who grew up with Flash Gordon, or stamped their feet on wooden floors when a reel broke...will be fascinated by a new book on the history of cinema in Ashton. ‘Flickering Memories’ is the work of Philip Martin Williams and David L. Williams, brothers with a great love for Ashton’s history.”Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter.

Flickering Memories is published by Tameside MBC Leisure Services (ISBN 0 904506 18 5) at £6.00 and is obtainable from
Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre
Central Library
Old Street
Telephone: 0161 342 4242



For details of further books click on the relevant title

Bygone Ashton-under-Lyne.
To Market, To Market
The Knight Rides Out.
A Back Door to Fleet Street
150 Not Out.