Book launch: Picture Palace to Penny Plunge: Reading’s Cinemas: Weds 27th Sept, 7.45 – 9.30pm

cinema cover

Picture Palace to Penny Plunge: Reading’s Cinemas will launch with a short film and refreshments at the

Where:   Minghella Studios, University of Reading, Whiteknights, RG6 6BT.

When: Weds 27th Sept, 7.45  – 9.30pm

The event is free but please email to book as spaces are limited.


Celebrate the launch of David Cliffe’s new book with a short talk by the author and an opportunity to watch archive footage  taken in and around Reading in the early part of the 20th century. Excerpts include an advertising film about Huntley and Palmers biscuits, a film about a Second World War youth camp at Sonning Common, footage of a royal visit to Reading in the 1950s, a documentary about children’s health services about the same time, and pictures of Reading trams and trolleybuses and the widening of Station Hill in the 1930s. Also, possibly, an excerpt from The Thirty-nine steps which is said to have been filmed in Reading’s ‘Palace’ theatre.

Twenty different cinemas have graced Reading’s streets over the years, many long forgotten and some of the earliest very short-lived. In his book, David Cliffe tells the story of the era of the single-screen cinema in Reading, from the traveling shows at the turn of the 20th century, its heyday with the Vaudeville Electric Theatre in the 20s, through to today’s multiscreen entertainment ‘villages’. 

David’s knowledge of the social history of Reading is extensive and there will be a chance to chat to the author afterwards, purchase books and have them signed.

David  will also be signing his book and available to talk about it alongside a small exhibition of photographs at the Heritage Open Day events at Waterstones, Broad Street, Reading on Saturday 9th September at 12-1pm.

Picture Palace to Penny Plunge is published by Two Rivers Press in collaboration with the History of Reading Society.