STARTING with Winsford where once existed two cinemas, now there are none, resulting in the Winsford residents travelling to Northwich or Crewe for their cinematic entertainment.

When films first appeared on the scene the Town Hall in the Market Place would show the very early, grainy films. This was until the 1910s when the Magnet cinema was built and opened at the bottom of Weaver Street. In the 1920s it was owned by Pendleton’s Pictures, and in the 1930s it was taken over by Sandbach Cinemas Ltd. During the war years, it boasted a popular Magnet Café within the building. In 1960 it was sold to the Miles Jervis chain of cinemas and renamed The Ritz cinema. On April 8, 1961, it closed, leaving the Palace Cinema as the only one in the town.

In 1901 when the second Boer War resulted in the need for more troops. Around the country, drill halls were being built to aid recruiting and training the soldiers of the future. In Winsford’s case, the 3rd Volunteer Brigade of the Cheshire Regiment. The Drill Hall was built in Dingle Lane, and it remained in use until 1914 when it was converted into a cinema called The Palace. Throughout its time, in this capacity, it was under private ownership. In the late 1970s, it was closed and converted into a Top Ten bingo hall. This tenure ended in 1917, and it was left empty, and the following year a cannabis farm was discovered in the building. Its future is still undecided, but conversion to flats seems likely.

Finally, The Alhambra in Middlewich was built originally as a cinema and opened in 1920; it was owned by Clement Whitehead who owned a short-lived basic Middlewich cinema called The Star and later by Sandbach Cinemas Ltd, followed in 1960 by the Miles Jervis cinema Chain.

It had two shows nightly, and prices were 7d to 1s 5d. It has a highly decorated front elevation in the rather loud style of cinemas built over the period. It was still a cinema in 1966 soon after, it became a bingo club and then by 1998, a Chinese restaurant. The restaurant closed in 2018, and remained empty for a while before the opening of a new Italian restaurant on the premises last week.