Evening Leader, Looking Back series 02/09/1994.
Who can resist such a splendid piece of nostalgia as the postcard of the long defunct Glynn Picture House, passed to me by the Down Memory Lane editor. I was there, second house, balcony, for Hercules Unchained, the night it closed. For someone who has thrived on a diet of B-movie Westerns and horror films at the old Empire the last hours of the Glynn had been an almost spiritual experience.
There was a capacity audience, despite Guy Fawkes celebrations going
on everywhere. As the 650-crowd streamed out of the gates for the last
time their voices were hushes, like leaving a funeral service at
Pentrebychan. Muttered “Goodnights” to Kate Nutter, manageress for the
last five years, the odd sniffle, and a half-stifled sob, a last look at
the black and white front and suddenly the flood-light over the
projection box went out, leaving stragglers to find their way through
the shrubbery and the big gates onto Queen’s Square in semi-darkness.
To the uninitiated the Glynn stood next to the old
Carnegie Library building, where now Wrexham Maelor CEO, DCEO and other
very important initials park their cars. I was also at the demise of The
Empire Picture Palace (to give it its full name). on Saturday, August 25, 1956. But don’t ask me what was being from the Glynn. Few cared about the closure of the Empire and no one thought that within five years, before the Hippodrome was reincarnated, there would only be the Odeon left.
closed for the first time in November 1959 for a redevelopment that has
still to take place! Wrexham doesn’t realise how close it came to
possibly have two “bomb sites” in the town centre! The Empire Music Hall
converted to movies (silent) on October 31, 1910. The Wrexham Rink and Pavilion (otherwise the Majestic in Regent Street) became a picture house on May 1, 1911. But the Glynn
had opened on September 23, 1910, the first purpose built cinema in
North Wales. It would be nearly 30 years before Wrexham saw another
built. Then it was the Odeon in Brook Street, which opened its doors on
March 13, 1937. I can never remember the licence number of my present
car but I can recall my Mickey Mouse Club membership number!
The Glynn was never part of a national distribution
chain but was owned by a Liverpool-based company The Glyn Animated
Picture Co., hence its comfortable, almost rural setting, with
half-timbered frontage, imposing gates, and a short drive flanked by
trees and shrubs. We’ll be charitable and say nothing about the noise on
the roof when it hailed or the heads of tall people (like me)
interfering with the projection beam as they found seats on the tiny
balcony. The first manager of the Glynn was a Mr. Charles Bayley.
I forget who followed, but there was a dapper little man, evening
suited with bow tie, who was there for 22 years from 1934 until replaced
by the re-doubtable Kate Nutter who, for sixteen years, had put the
fear of God into us Empire yobbos. Older readers will re-call the Nutter
family with affection. In 1922 William Henry Nutter had taken up the
post of musical director at the Hippodrome. He was an accomplished musician with a Trinity College degree.
All his nine children could play a musical instrument and he had a
semi-professional five-piece family orchestra. His wife Gertrude lived
to more than 60, old enough to see the end of Wrexham’s cinemas.
She-played drums! Most people recall with pleasure the advent of
“talkies,” but for the thousands of “flea-pit” musicians who accompanied
the silent films, “talkie? proved a disaster. They were thrown out of
work. Thus, began Kate Nutter’s long association with the administrative
side of Wrexham’s cinemas as a humble cashier at the Glynn, where she would eventually end up as the last manager.
The Glynn was never part of a national distribution chain but was owned by a Liverpool-based company The Glyn Animated Picture Co.
Evening Leader, Looking Back series 02/09/1994
On its closure in 1960 (4th November) there were 12 staff at the Glynn.
Attendances were excellent, 17,000-22,000 a month; 117,760 for the
eight months January-August 1960. But Wrexham Borough owned the land on
which the Glynn stood.
The new Guildhall on Llwyn Isaf was almost ready. All, that was
lacking were car park spaces with those ego-boosting hieroglyphics. The
rest is history!
Built next to the Carnegie Library, the Glynn Cinema was a ‘temporary’ cinema building which opened on 23rd September 1910. Reputed to be the first purpose-built cinema in North Wales, it was a half-timbered building in a Tudor Revival style on the exterior. Seating in the auditorium was in stalls and circle levels with a capacity of 900 cinema goers.
The cinema was independently operated and was located on land taken on a 50 years lease from the council. By 1959, the lease was about to expire and due to falling business at the time, it was decided not to renew it. The Glynn Cinema closed on 4th November 1960 with Steve Reeves in “Hercules Unchained”. The 50 years old ‘temporary’ building was later demolished and the site was used as a car park.
- Opened 1910
- Closed 1960
- No of Screens: 1
- Seating Capacity: 900
Source: Evening Leader, Looking Back series 02/09/1994.
Unknown copyright holders for images.