The Temperance Hall, High Street, Ryde, was built in 1884 and used for lectures. It was on the site of the old Wesleyan Methodist Chapel which was built in 1858. It became the Bijou Cinema showing silent films and featuring a pianist.
The entrance was under the arch beside the building with the screen at the roadside end. The interior of the building was very small and the seats were wooden benches with “free” wooden orange boxes for children. An advertisement of 1911 stated it as being a Modern Equipped Electric Theatre, well heated and ventilated and the better seats at the back priced 6d. were tip-up chairs, others seats 3d. The Bijou closed in 1928.
Latterly the hall became a wholesale chemist, and a second-hand furniture business, also a sewing business. The photograph (right) was taken in 1970.
Isle of Wight Observer 6 May 1911
The Cinema in the High Street is maintaining its popularity and reputation for presenting some really fine subjects in moving pictures. Sports in the Indian Army, Life in the Alps, A Virgin of Babylon, and The Man who Learned, form the subjects for next week.
Isle of Wight Observer 7 October 1916
The Cinema – Through local enterprise this picture hall, in the High Street, will be re-opened on Monday next, and no effort has been spared to provide an attractive and entertaining bill for the opening week. “Call Back,” featuring Henry Ainley and Jane Gail, will be the chief film, with the mirth provoking Charlie Chaplin, and the Khaki Contests, showing exponents of the noble art.
Images source: RSHG Archive Roy Brinton Collection