Will Godfrey – The last of the family cinema owners.
Strangely, Will and I have been friends for more than 20 years and yet I never knew his family owned so many Liverpool cinemas.
I always knew, however, they had a few bingo halls but never connected the two until I started this project.
He very kindly ignored the fact I payed no interest in his family affairs and invited me to go see the only cinema they still own within the family – a 1920’s cinema in Northwich.
Will explained to me with heartfelt detail the rise and fall of the family cinema but the show is still not over yet in Cheshire.
Take a look at the Flickr album;
Please scroll down to view videos
Will’s Story – Part 1
Will’s Story – Part 2
Note by David Ellis – projectionist
Video 2 – Will says the Empress Runcorn was demolished to make way for the bridge. This is in-correct. The bridge opened in 1961 and the Empress closed in 1973. It was situated in Lowlands Road. It was demolished to make way for road improvements. I went there a lot with my uncle as we lived in Frodsham. I also went there a lot on my own. The projectors were Westar with Western Electric sound. A friend of mine John Forster was a relief projectionist for Cheshire County Cinemas and I used to visit him, having a chat in the Empress box. The Empress was the head office of the circuit. The last manager was a Mr Horton and before him a Mr John Darlington. When visiting The Empress I would pop over to the London pub opposite, also demolished to get a couple of burgers for me and John. I saw many films there. It was also equipped with magnetic sound. A great little place to see movies.