It was a momentous day for Blackburn when the doors of the Cotton Exchange opened for the first time on 26th April 1865. 94 years later, the Essoldo cinema marked the anniversary and the screening of High Society with a full page history article in the Blackburn Times on 26 April 1957, along with a heritage exhibition in the foyer. Eric Gillett, the manager managed to obtain full support from the borough librarian, Mr W Yeates. According to Kinematograph Weekly:

‘Old documents and material were gathered and neatly set out in proper rotation and the exhibition was open to the public for two weeks from 10 a.m. until closing time each day. The original invitation card for the laying of the corner stone of the building in 1863 was reproduced on the reverse side to a VIP invitation to the opening night. Ten full window displays were arranged, a full composite page of advertising in the Blackburn Times was secured, the newspaper further cooperating with a window display of the page plus the theme of the 94 years. Press coverage of the whole campaign was excellent, as was the general decoration.’

Here’s a link to a clip of the classic, High Society with memorable music by Cole Porter.



Thanks to Mary Painter, Blackburn with Darwen Library & Information Services for finding us the page in the Blackburn Times.