Pavilion reelsAn independent film about film:

A small town tale of flea pits, picture palaces and the people who went or worked there, "Hooked to the Silver Screen" documents the impact of film on a Northern industrial town, from Barrow's first purpose-built silent film cinema back in 1910 through to the closing of its last great art deco 'picture house' at the turn of the millennium.

A warm and affectionate exploration of the golden age of cinema, "Hooked" explores an era when ‘going to the pictures’ really meant something and, for many, was the highlight of the week.  

 It tells the story of the heyday and eventual decline of all those lovingly-recalled picture palaces and flea pits, with their art deco, red-velvet opulence and ‘threpence’ cheap seats.

Illustrated with archive photographs and footage, the memories and anecdotes of cinema-goers, former projectionists, usherettes and cinema managers of those long-gone cinemas are brought vividly back to life – for one night only. 

Re-live the cinema-going experience as it was for ordinary people in those half-forgotten glory days: the hushed thrill as the lights dim and the curtains part; the giddy joy of the children’s Saturday matinee; the newsreels, the cliff-hanger serials and – perhaps, if you were lucky - a kiss-and-a-cuddle on the back row! 

So, share a plate of chips/fries in the cinema café, buy a quarter of sweets at the kiosk (but don’t rustle your wrappers!) and allow yourself once again to get ‘Hooked To The Silver Screen’.

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  • Ten cinemas in one small town

  • Four generations of moviegoers and staff 

  • Eighty-nine years of snack sales


So many great stories...

They were designed to be entertainment for the masses of people, for a price so that working class people could go there regularly. The term ‘picture palace’ is used because of the reality of that; the ceilings were immense, it was ornate and there was red velvet seating. There was a sense of luxury and a sense of being a trip out: That it was very special, but also that it seemed very affordable and you could do it very regularly...  John Duffin, Artist