Echoes of the past: Plenty to do despite chaos of the conflict

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A century ago there was plenty of entertainment on offer according to the Brighouse Echo. Even though it was two years into the First World War.

There was a real film bonanza and customers would be spoilt for choice. The Albert Theatre probably had the best on offer with the classic Charlie Chaplin film Charlie at Work, a film that was produced and released in 1915. This film saw the first appearance of 47 year old Marta Golden an actress that would appear in several of Chaplin’s films.

Later in the week it was showing The Heart of a Child a film where in one of the minor roles was Lewis Gilbert. He went on to produce and direct many prominent films Reach for the Sky, Sink the Bismarck, Alfie, Shirley Valentine, Educating Rita as well as three of the Bond films. For those who saw him as that young actor in 1915 would see his name in the film credits for decades.

Cinema prices in those days were 6d, 4d and 2d. Recalling the days I went to the Albert Theatre cinema in the early 1960s I could catch a bus from Hipperholme, buy the cinema ticket. May be a lolly at the interval or a bag of chips at Wendy’s on the way home and then the bus fare back to Hipperholme and all out of no more than five bob (25p).

The Town Hall Pictures was showing (Brighouse Civic Hall) a full programme of lesser known films. Mr Griffin the manager at the Empire Theatre on Atlas Mill Lane also had a full programme.

The space fantasy film From the Earth to the Moon based on a Jules Verne book was on at the Empire. This must have had the audience spellbound with the very thought of being able to make a space ship and then firing it off from a cannon to the moon. The three spacemen did not land on the moon but just went round it and returned to earth. You can just imagine the conversation amongst the adults leaving the picture house ‘Going to the moon whatever will they think of next’. The same children who left the picture house that week and having witnessed the first three spacemen be it was in a science fiction film would also be the same children who just happened to watch Neil Armstrong the first man to walk on the moon 54 years later.

Over in Huddersfield at the Theatre Royal was a performance of the musical The Arcadians which was the smash hit of the time.

This piece of musical theatre has a connection to Brighouse - Harley Street off Bramston Street is named after Rev Robert Harley his eldest son Harold was born at Castle Hill Rastrick. Even with his university education he surprisingly he took the stage as his chosen career.

One of his earliest successes as a playright was the comedy theatre farce A Little Ray of Sunshine which even played at the Wallack’s Theatre on Broadway.

His real claim to fame came after he conceived and wrote the first act of what became known as The Arcadians.

The Arcadians was composed by Mark Ambient and Alexander M Thompson in 1909, the lyrics were by Arthur Wimperis and the music by Lionel Monkton and Howard Talbot. The name of Harold Harley does not appear, only that of Mark Ambient, which he used in his early career as a stage name.

One very interesting piece in the February press of 1915 is in the To Let section. On offer is the Eatage of the Castlefields Golf course. The grazing it goes on to say is limited to sheep only. Well that was one way of getting the grass cut.

This week’s photo show the Albert Hall Theatre c1916.