Many years ago, when I was younger, there were two cinemas to attend in Lynn – “The Majestic” and “The Pilot.” My brother and I used to go to the Saturday morning pictures for sixpence.

As in many other town cinemas, it was a miscellany of cartoons, short films and serialised Westerns, Cowboy films, and occasionally swashbuckling tales of pirates, or heroes such as Ivanhoe, Robin Hood, etc. The noise inside was deafening, usually a full house of totally unsupervised children – probably with hindsight, quite feral really!

If you were lucky enough, and had spare pocket money, a trip to Limberts on the way home for four pennyworth of chips with scraps might complete the morning, and yes we walked there and back on our own. Sweets were usually obtained from The Book and Toy shop opposite (now Pastimes) or Mrs. Fleecies near St. James’ school. When we did get home, we would often act out some of the scenes or discuss future developments from cliff-hangers.

The other cinema – The Pilot in North End, still there and sadly looking forlorn and purposeless, was smaller, but also showed good children’s films. Many years ago, my own grandfather had a part-time job there, and I can remember that Granny had said she had to sew tiny, pearly buttons, spelling out “Pilot” on his usher’s cap, so people could see where he was in the dark – torches were a bit feeble, I think!

Curiously, I have followed the family tradition as a long-standing usher/steward for the Arts Centre, and often think of standing in ancestral footsteps when standing at the end of a row of seats or pews.

Annie Bird

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