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Memories of Stourbridge usherette

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 23, 2014

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FOLLOWING the letter from by Janet Kettle in The Bugle (March 6 edition) I also worked at the Odeon, Stourbridge, as an usherette after leaving school at 14.

I stayed there for three to four years. They were very happy days. I am now 84 years old and I have such good memories.

George was doorman then and also little Mr Donovan, he was a lovely man. Mr Lloyd was manager then and later Mr Pass. The managers were always very smart and wore suits.

We had to be on duty before they opened and inspected by a man we called Serg. We had green skirts and top and a short coat. This was our uniform.

We had a tea break in two separate hours which we called early and late. We took this in turns, then we would go over the road to Dawson's Bakery and get a sandwich and a lovely jam doughnut and sometimes we would go to Wright's in Coventry Street for their doughnuts and maybe have chips from Rowbottom's fish shop in Coventry Street and take them back to the staff room.

When seats were full, it would be standing at the back and people had to wait till someone came out and then we would show them to their seats. We had problems sometimes with boys throwing paper at each other, so we would fetch Serg to them. This was only in the cheap seats at the front.

There was an exit at the bottom of the cinema and also toilets. Sometimes one boy would go and let his mates in. Then if we saw them we had to ask if they had their tickets, but we never had any problems.

This was the time when the wounded servicemen were at Wordsley Hospital, some on crutches, so we always got them a seat on the aisle. We had complimentary tickets to go to other cinemas, so sometimes on our day off we would see a different film at either the Kings Hall, Savoy or Danilo. They were happy days.

Some names I can remember are: Betty Wood (now Moore) who I am still in touch with, Betty Mason (now passed away), Iris Hill, Jean Fisher, Joan Wyre, and Joan Bishop. I can't remember any more.

I think it was a dreadful thing to make such a beautiful cinema into a store. There was a grand fish pond in the foyer and the staircase to the balcony was wonderful. Why destroy this?

Are there any girls now from that time. It would be so nice is someone else can remember these days. Every day was different.

From the Odeon I then went to Perry's Pen Nib Factory in Wordsley by Stuart Crystal, now a car park for the Stuart Glass Museum.

Does anyone remember Perrys being there?

I can just remember a girl, Thelma Woodhouse and Marion from Brockmoor I think.

Mrs Turner or Turley was forewoman and a lady from Kinver was also there, Mrs Biddlecombe.

Audrey Slater,

12 Sandhurst Grove, Stourbridge.

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