Godalming Museum, ref: B000.80


This monthly cinema programme printed on brown card was for the Empire Cinema (Fudgers' Cinema) in Station Road, Godalming.

This cinema, first known as The Empire Picture Palace, was built in 1911 and could seat 300 people. It became known as 'Fudgers' after Mr Fudger bought The Empire in the early 1920s (Fudger had previously shown films in the 'Court Room' at the Borough Hall). During the 1920s, the Empire boasted an orchestra, which played along to the silent films of the day. This programme, for January 1928, lists a daily matinee showing of Charlie Chaplin's 'The Circus'.

The Empire Cinema closed in November 1930, but Godalming was not left without film entertainment as, in 1921, 'The King George's Cinema' had been built on Meadrow, Farncombe. In 1935, yet another cinema was opened; 'The Regal' on Ockford Road, which seated around 1200 filmgoers. The opening film at The Regal was 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' featuring the famous screen actor, Leslie Howard. By 1940 both of Godalming's cinemas were owned by the ODEON company.

The arrival of television in homes set off a decline in film-going. By 1956, the Farncombe picture house had closed and the Ockford Road cinema became a 'Bingo' hall in 1976.



Brummell, D P, 'Godalming Cinemas' in Local History of Godalming (University of Surrey Department of Educational Studies booklet) - available for reference in Godalming Museum library.



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