Equipment Hub Spotlight: Shiplake Memorial Hall

Date: 17 January 2024Category: Interviews

We spoke to Peter at Shiplake Memorial Hall, who hosts a full set of Cinema For All equipment at their venue in Henley, about the cinematic history of the building and their own community cinema!

"I think the most interesting fact about our hall from a cinema goer’s perspective is that there is evidence, including stories handed down by local villagers, that our hall was designed to show films as part of it’s construction – in 1926! Still then the era of silent movies. As part of our centenary celebrations next year (the year the foundation stone was laid) we will be showing some silent films of that year such as Charlie Chaplain’s Goldrush and Harold Lloyd’s Phantom of the Opera, as well as newsreels of the time."

"We still have a lever-operated electricity socket (still in place, but not in use, thankfully!) up in the tower that the projector would have connected into. And just above the socket an old bell push that was probably used to alert the stage hand to open the curtains just as the film starts. Always a moment of anticipation for us even today, and probably of real excitement for many in those days as it will likely have been many locals’ first experience of film. Most of our present day attendees say they come to the film nights for the social enjoyment as much as to see the films and I imagine that applied just as much in those days, if not more."

Shiplake Memorial Hall is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, originally established in 1927. They host a full set of equipment at their venue in Henley (Memorial Ave, Shiplake Cross, RG9 4DN) available to hire from just £50. Find out more about our equipment hire services here.

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