85-89 Mill Road, Sturton Town Hall, The Kinema
A well-loved local cinema, popularly known as 'The Fleapit'.
Read the complete building report (PDF)
In 1881 The Sturton Town Liberal Hall Company (Limited) was set up by a group of local Liberals to create club rooms that men of the area could use to keep themselves informed. They decided to build a hall that could be used for public meetings and also let out so that he income from the hall could then be used to help finance the club.
In 1882 Sturton Town Hall opened and hosted a variety of acts over the next three years until the renewal of its theatrical licence was refused. The Salvation Army took a lease on the hall which provided regular income over the next 25 years. In 1910 Fred Hawkins refurbished the hall and opened The Empire, for the first time showing the newly popular cinematographs as well as the traditional music hall entertainment.
In 1916 there was another change of name and control when A J Pointer reopened the hall as The Kinema, now a dedicated cinema, although there were still variety and musical acts in between the reels for some years. The Kinema lasted as a cinema for 60 years, with George Webb taking over the lease in 1950, until it became a Bingo Club in 1966 with occasionally late night films.
The Kinema finally closed at the end of 1985 and the site gradually became derelict until it was finally demolished in 1996 to make way for a student housing facility known as Scholars House.
Scholars House, July 2015, photo by Simon Middleton
Photo from 1986 or 1987, courtesy of Ann Horn
This report was compiled by Simon Middleton based on research by Allan Brigham and Simon Middleton.
Census data etc.
1890: (CIP 26.4.1890 p.6) Fracas at the Cambridge Salvation Army Barracks: A SoldierDisabled: At the Cambridge Borough Police Court, on Tuesday morning, before the Mayor (in the chair). Dr. Cooper. C. Balls, and J. Hough, Esqs , Mark Felstead (17), a labourer, of 12, Catherine-street, was charged on remand with having assaulted William Mead, a member of the Salvation Army, at Sturton Town Hall, on the 13th inst. ………..
Sturton Town Hall
The Empire Palace of Varieties, F Hawkins, proprietor
Empire Palace of Varieties, CDN 10.2.1913