CRADLEY HEATH'S Majestic Cinema went the way of so many of our town centre picture houses a long time ago, though the building does remain, at least for the time being.
Many of those old cinemas still standing have been given over to other uses these days, but even in the days of the silver screen, there were, it appears, other businesses housed in the 1930s building that housed the Majestic.
Two receipts loaned to us by Cradley Heath reader Joan Willetts, issued by Cartwrights Limited in 1937 and 1938, give their address as Majestic Buildings, Cradley Heath, which suggests that at this point in time they occupied one of the shops which flanked the cinema entrance and were part of the same building.
Amongst the services offered by Cartwrights were cabinet making and upholstery, household removals and storage, furniture renovation and the remaking of mattresses, and the supply of bedding, carpet and linoleum, curtains and loose covers.
The receipts were kept by Joan's parents Beaty and Bill Swingler of Cradley Heath, when they moved from Oldfields to Sutherland Road and bought new furniture. One of the receipts has lost a few square inches with the passage of time, but we can make out that on November 24th 1937, the Swinglers bought an oak bedroom suite for 13 old pounds, and a bedstead. Along with the items we can't read, this amounted to a total of £20, a large sum at the time, but which was, as was the way in those days, paid in cash.
Some months later on April 2nd the following year, the Swinglers bought a settee, putting three pounds down on order, and paying the balance on delivery, a total of four pounds seven and six.
The firm had been established almost a century by that date; according to the bill head, it had been in operation since 1850. It was by now in the hands of L.M.
Turner and B. Turner, which may explain the 'Successors' in the company name. The Majestic Cinema, a fine example of Thirties architecture, was opened in March 1933, so Cartwrights could only have been in their current premises for five years at the most.
Joan has also supplied the building society account book which she and husband Kenneth had before they married, and it's become something of an historical document in itself. Their account was with the Rowley Regis and District Benefit Building Society, which many locals will recall had its headquarters at Regis House on Halesowen Road in Old Hill. Like so many such establishments of a similar size, the building society no longer exists under that name, though the distinctive building survives in pretty good shape.
Rowley Regis Building Society, along with Kidderminster Equitable Building Society, was swallowed up by the Heart of England Building Society in March 1988. In 1993 Heart of England vanished from the High Streets as it became part of the Cheltenham and Gloucester, which, within two years, was part of Lloyds Bank, but retained its name.