Twenty different cinemas have graced Reading’s streets over the years, many long forgotten and some of the earliest very short-lived. Picture Palace to Penny Plunge tells the story of the era of the single-screen cinema in Reading, from the travelling shows at the turn of the twentieth century, its heyday with the Vaudeville Electric Theatre in the 20s, through to today’s multiscreen entertainment “villages” and outdoor screenings. It traces the technological developments and how they influenced the types of buildings, the numbers of seats, prices, programmes, refreshments and ownership. It describes each cinema, in the order of its opening, and includes appendices listing some of the films made in or near Reading, and some of the film actors and directors with Reading connections. Illustrated throughout with contemporary photographs and drawings, this book will bring back happy memories and is a unique record of Reading’s cinematic history.
David Cliffe. Paperback, 210 x 135 mm, 128 pages, September 2017.