Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Memories of Ryde and the Movies

Scala Cinema Ryde circa 1955

I was born in Ryde – 22 The Strand, and apart from two years in Singapore, lived there until 1956, when my parents moved to Surrey. When old enough to go to the cinema on my own, I remember being very impressed at seeing “South Pacific” at the Scala. I believe it was the first picture house in the Island to run Cinemascope with stereophonic sound.

At that point I knew I wanted to work in movies.

After a spell learning my trade with BBC Television, I transferred to the film industry, working on “Fiddler on the Roof” and a couple of Bond films. I’m now retired, being 75, but interested in films and the cinema from an early age, when my father used to hire 16mm silent films from Frank Mellanby at Nicholson’s chemist who kept a small library – I persuaded him to sell me the copy of Laurel & Hardy’s ‘Love and Hisses’ which still runs well today. Years later I visited Frank at the IOW Cine Society to show them some colour footage of BBC shows that I had taken in the studios at White City and the Television Theatre.

I also installed a cinema in Northbank Hotel in Seaview, as we were friendly with Pat Shaw-Yates the proprietor, who wanted something to amuse the children on a wet afternoon, setting him up to rent cartoons and feature films from the then available film libraries. This was popular with guests as it was prior to colour television being available.

Sadly I do not re-visit the Island these days, since my parents passed away, having retired back there, as that was where they met.

Picture Source: RSHG Archive