MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

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MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by Stanley » 20 Apr 2012, 14:46

MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

13 November 2004

Interview with Boris Hartley at his bungalow, the first red brick one up Greenberfield Lane.

Boris Hartley Born 10 May 1931. Father was Harry Hartley [son of Harold Hartley] mother was Olive nee Jacques. Her father was an engine driver at a mill in Skipton and had 18 children. They lived on Brook Street and this is where Boris was born. For the first two years of his life his cradle was the second drawer down in a chest of drawers in the bedroom. Harry had gone out to Niagara Falls when he came back after WW1 as it wasn’t certain then that the family business could support all the brothers. He came back round about 1928 when Matt offered him the job of managing the Gem (Later the Plaza) at Skipton. It was here that he met Olive and married her round about 1935. Boris said that there was another cinema opposite the bus station, the one I remember as the Odeon. It was started by a man called Morrison and was called the Morriseum. The Hartley family sold the Plaza in the mid 1990s.

Matt Hartley was Boris’s great grandfather, he had three sons, Rennie, Harold and Fred. Matt was born in Colne and his first venture seems to have been a pie and pea shop opposite the bank at the top of Colne.

I’ve searched the 1881 census and the only family I can come up with that fits is;
1881 census for Colne
John HARTLEY, 46, born Colne, Head, Plasterer
Mary A. HARTLEY, wife, 45, born Colne, Housekeeper
Pemberton HARTLEY, 17, born Colne, Son, plasterers Apprentice
Rennie HARTLEY. 14, born Colne, Son, Cotton Weaver
Henry HARTLEY. 12 , born Colne, Son, Scholar
Andaliza HARTLEY. 10, born Colne, Daughter, Scholar
Fred HARTLEY, 5 , born Nelson, Son, Scholar.

I asked Boris if his Gt Grandfather could have been known as John because this family seems to fit. He told me that he didn’t know but Matt seems to have been a bit of a character.

If this is the right family, and it seems to fit, Matt went walkabout sometime before 1875 and Boris says that he knows he was building houses in Marsden Heights at one time. This would fit in with Fred’s birth in Nelson in 1876. If he came back to Colne, still in the building trade, he must have been there until at least 1891 because there is no mention in the Barnoldswick census of him for that year. He built the Majestic in 1914 and so a move to Barlick just before 1900 would give him time to get established.

The majestic was a very early leisure centre. There was a ballroom which doubled as a roller skating rink and a billiard hall with 14 full sized tables on the first floor. The cinema was in the centre and when it first started was gas-lit but with a generator powered by a small gas engine which supplied power for the arc lamp for the projectors. Walt Fisher said this was on rails so it could be moved from one projector to the other when they changed reels. Later a larger engine and generator were added to light the whole of the building. Both engines were in a room behind the screen and they had their own gas producer in the same room, they drove the generators with leather belts. There was also a gentleman’s club, the entrance to this was in Fernlea Avenue next to the library. I’ve been told that it wasn’t unknown for people to play cards for money in there. There were shops on the front of the building on either side of the stairs leading up to the foyer of the cinema.

As well as the Majestic he built Station Chambers and the shops opposite the Majestic. He built six lock-up shops on the site where the Post Office is now. Boris thinks that he had a hand in building the block on the corner of Albert Road in 1906 that now houses the Occasion and two other small shops with accommodation over the top.

On the 11th of November 1940 M Hartley and Sons Limited presented a silver gilt chain to the Urban District Council as Chairman’s Regalia. It was in memory of Mr Fred Hartley’s service to the Council. Matt Hartley himself was a councillor from 1920 to 1922. The story in the family is that at some point Matt fell out with the council and asked for the chain back. They believe that the reason for the falling out was that the council wouldn’t allow him to lay a water main from Church Street to a building on the hill up to St James’ Square that Matt had built as a public swimming baths. This building is earlier than 1940 and was Phineas Brown’s electrical works before 1922 so there is a mis-match between the story and the dates. However, the building was never used as a swimming bath and Matt dropped his plans for further development up towards the Square. The present owner, Mr Berisford tells me that at one time it was used for ice-making and of course in my time in the 1960s it was the Croft Garage. In 2004 the sign ‘Croft Garage’ can still be seen on the gable end facing Skipton Road.

Walt Fisher was right about the films of the gala. Boris did them in 1951 and 1952 and they were filmed off the wall top in Skipton Road. He said they added music tracks to them and showed them from about four rows down from the back of the stalls. He doesn’t know where these films are now.

Harry and Olive lived at No 4 Ellis Street, Fred and Bertha at No 6 and Rennie at no 8. Harold Hartley was married to Teresa and lived on Ellis Street as well. He looked after the gas engines and liked his pint.

At some point Matt built the first two red brick bungalows up Greenberfield Lane. Boris lives in the first one. There is a lot of wood panelling from the liner Majestic in the house, also doors, painted wood panels and stained and painted glass. Boris said that the chandelier at the top of the stairs into the Majestic Cinema was from the liner as well and agrees with Walt Fisher that the pay box was the old Purser’s office.

Boris said that Arthur Harper started at the Palace Cinema playing the piano for the silent films. At weekends they had a trio. He eventually became secretary and manager for M Hartley and Sons Ltd. Boris isn’t sure whether Matt built the Palace but he certainly had a large interest in it. Barmy Mick bought the Palace off M Hartley and Sons in about 1960 and opened it as a cheap shop. George Formby and Billy Cotton’s Band Show both played at the Palace.

In the late 50s and early 1960s Boris ran what they called ‘Barlick Pop’ at the Majestic, usually on Wednesday evening. In 1959 he had a visit one Friday from three men, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Brian Epstein. They were touring round looking for bookings and had been at the Imperial Ballroom at Nelson. The manager there had booked them and suggested that they try the Majestic at Barnoldswick. When Boris asked Brian Epstein how much they wanted he said £28. Boris said he couldn’t go higher than £15 because they only charged a shilling for entry. He said he could book The Hollies, Freddy and the Dreamers and Gene Vincent for £5 to £10. They all appeared at the Majestic from time to time. Brian Epstein gave Boris a demo record of ‘Please, please me’ and asked him to play it for the kids and if they liked it he could get in touch about a booking. This record floated round in Boris’s collection for years until one day two lasses who had been helping him asked if they could have it. He gave it to them and in 2000 realised that only 15 of these demo records had been made and one had sold at Christie’s in New York for £85,000!

One more interesting fact. Boris said that one thing he always remembered was the smell of the venue when he opened it up the morning after and went in to sweep up. There were no snack foods in those days and most people brought oranges and peas in pods. He said the place smelled of orange peel.

SCG/22 November 2004
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by PanBiker » 12 Jun 2018, 16:16

This post is in three different places on the site and as this one is in Research topics we had better have the record straight regarding the next to last paragraph.

Here are the facts regarding Brian Epstein and the Beatles and the "Please Please Me" reference.

Brian Epstein became the Beatles manager on January 24th 1962 having first met them after a concert at the Cavern Club in November of 1961. Interesting that Boris says he met them in 1959. If he did it would certainly not have been with Epstein. According to various sources, "Please Please Me" was recorded as a demo by Parlophone on November 26th 1962 and about 200 copies were made for distribution to clubs and DJ's. A good example was catalogued for sale on the Parlogram Website in October 2011 with an asking price of £2,500. A bit of showman's licence and romancing going on with Boris I reckon, makes a good tale though."


Brian Epstein Official Site
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by Stanley » 13 Jun 2018, 02:17

I remember this being raised at the time. But did Boris have a copy and is it still floating round Barlick somewhere?
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by PanBiker » 13 Jun 2018, 13:14

After the original demo pressings of the single "Please Please Me" it became the title track of the Beatles first studio album which was recorded in a single day. Copies of the associated single then ran into the thousands. "Love Me Do" was actually the début single from the group which was released on 5th October 1962.
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by plaques » 13 Jun 2018, 17:12

Has anyone got a picture of the Majestic before all the street level shops were built? I only ask this is because there seems to be an entrance archway under the (MH 1914) date stone.
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by PanBiker » 13 Jun 2018, 17:21

That was the entrance to the Majestic Cinema and Ballroom. There were marble stairs up to the upper floor, ballroom on the left and cinema on the right. There was also a billiard/snooker hall with 18 tables at one time. Apart from the Majestic entrance the lower frontage was always shops. Exit from the cinema was on Ellis Street and the ballroom onto Fernlea Avenue. The library now stands on the site of the former cinema and ballroom.
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by PanBiker » 13 Jun 2018, 17:31

From the gallery:

1982

Image

1983 with no cars on the street!

Image

The rather garish entrance sign is a 70's / 80's addition it used to be a bit more elegant. The site was one of the major entertainment complexes throughout its life. Lots of "mill stirs", roller skating and derby's in the 30's in the ballroom. Loads of events and fundraisers during WWII. Bop club in the 50's. Saturday matinees "Flicks" and features in the evenings at the cinema. The Majestic Church now occupies what was the billiard hall.
As Stanley mentions in the article, a lot of the fixtures and fittings came from the Majestic liner when it was scrapped. Pursers cabin was the booking office at the top of the stairs, the bannister rails up each side of the stairs, balustrades in the ballroom and probably the sprung maple dance floor as well
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by plaques » 13 Jun 2018, 21:56

I was thinking that it may have had an entrance similar to that of St Andrews Manchester Rd. But if the shops have always been there then I guess not.
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by PanBiker » 13 Jun 2018, 22:50

Not quite as big as St Andrews, which is on Moseley Street not Manchester Road. The entrance had the rounded shop windows on either side of the entrance and the stairs started about shop depth from the frontage. I remember the bannisters at each side of the stairs were rather substantial and had rounded brass studs set into them along their length. There were poster boards on the walls at each side of the stairs for the cinema and ballroom features. During the week there was an indoor market held in the ballroom in the 1950's and 60's, (Thursdays I think).
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by Stanley » 14 Jun 2018, 02:57

Some of Matt's houses had panelling in from the Majestic. Theresa Hartley lived in one on Ellis Street and I remember her bathroom made you feel seasick because being off a ship none of it was perfectly square and it made you feel disorientated. Boris had some fittings and glass in his bungalow and I remember an iron chandelier in his garage.
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by Nolic » 14 Jun 2018, 07:30

Barlick "pop" at the Majestic did not begin until the early 1960's ( 1962 I think) and it ran on a Sunday afternoon. There may have been pop sessions on a Wednesday evening but the big acts came on the Sundays. Nolic
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by plaques » 14 Jun 2018, 07:52

PanBiker, sorry about getting the wrong location. Your pictures of the Majestic would suggest that the balustrade on either side stopped short of the entrance and you would have been able to see the full columns. Strange how there are no original design pictures.

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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by PanBiker » 14 Jun 2018, 08:13

I'm fairly certain that before Barlick Pop, there was the Bop Club on Saturday afternoons in the late 50's. My older sister Jenny used to get landed with me on a Saturday afternoon and we would both go to the Majestic. I went to the flicks and my Sister went dancing. The pictures ended a little before the Bop Club and I can remember going in to the ballroom to collect her. We got 6d worth of chips (with scraps) from Albert Road chippy and ate them on our way home. More often than not we had to wait for the level crossing on Wellhouse as they were usually shunting at that time, all a very vivid memory.
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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by Marilyn » 14 Jun 2018, 09:01

My mother was born on Ellis Street, in 1933. My gran lived there until early 70's when she left to come to live with my mother in Australia)
Mum used to frequent the Majestic as a teen, and has told me about the blackout curtains in WW2. She didn't have far to walk home, but her Dad would suddenly appear from the dark to walk her home.....scared the life out of her if it was foggy, but I think it was lovely for her Dad to do that.

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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by Marilyn » 14 Jun 2018, 09:11

i cant recall her mentioning she went to dances there, but she liked the cinema.

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Re: MAJESTIC CINEMA AND MATT HARTLEY.

Post by Stanley » 15 Jun 2018, 02:49

:good:
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