'I remember the silent films, they were all silent when we were kids, and down in the front was an orchestra of local people, one on the piano, one on the fiddle, one on the euphonium.'
Cinema played an important role in 20th century, the Memorial Hall was built as movies were taking off as a form of mass entertainment. The original building had been designed for silent films but the arrival of the “talkies” meant that quickly the Committee had to consider which, if any, of the early sound systems to adopt. A Simplex Projector was bought on 24th May 1924.
“The first talkie I remember, I think it was “The Desert Song”, the first talkie that came to the Memorial Hall”.
In 1925, the first film was shown in The Memo, was ‘The Thief of Baghdad’ starring Rudolph Valentino. The cinema was also used to show public information films during wartime. Films declined in popularity in 1960’s and early 1970’s and as cinemas were modernised, the large auditorium and the old fashioned seats became less popular. Like so many cinemas round Britain, bingo was tried at the Memorial Hall in order to halt declining attendances but it did not succeed. This change eventually forced the closure of The Memo as a cinema in 1972, after being at the centre of Newbridge life for nearly 50 years.