There has been some discussion of late on Facebook and other places about local cinemas, and with Russia topical at the moment too, this is a good time to share this one from reader Sam that came in a few weeks ago.
I once commented on the above photo of the Regent Cinema – It stood on the site of Ravens Court, itself on the site of a lost pub called the Royal George – and I said it was odd seeing the Soviet flag displayed in Brownhills High Street. Of course, I knew this was because they were one of our allies in the war at the time, but it still seems incongruous.
Well, reader Sam has pointed out that the people of Brownhills (and by extension, clearly the UK as a whole) were supportive of the Soviets during the war as one would, I think, expect.
Sam sent me the following clipping:
There was some correspondence in the past about the Regent Cinema, referring to a photograph with the Soviet hammer and sickle flag displayed, on 25th May 1945.
Not only was Russia an ally of Britain during the war, but the residents of Brownhills enthusiastically supported them, as is shown by the attached report of a fund raising concert held in 1942 (Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle, 21st February 1942).
Also possibly of interest is the advert for a concert at the same venue featuring Sam Rowbotham and his ‘Futurists’ 5th April 1942…
Quality or re-production not great- downloaded by me from British Newspapers on-line.
Over forty two pounds? That’s a lot of money, particularly in wartime. Wow.
I’m interested in several aspects: We have covered the redoubtable Mrs. Parsley a few times on the blog, and she seems to have been quite a strong character in wartime Brownhills, but I had no idea her husband was a Major – it would be nice to know more about him.
Just who were the Pioneer Corps, and what was their function in being stationed here? Were they local?
Finally, the Regent as a concert venue is new to me. Were other local cinemas so used? What concerts and acts played the Regent? Anyone famous?
Sam also supplied this clipping, similarly from 1942:
Just who were the Futurists, were they big at the time and what did they play? It sounds wonderful. Also, I’ve asked before – what was Brownhills Nursing Association, please?
Thanks to Sam for raising some remarkable questions and opening a window on another aspect of local history.
Come on cinema-goers, what do you know? Comment here, or mail me: Brownhillsbob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.