Timeline of the Exchange

Captured Moments in Time


Crowds queued in the rain for two hours to the long awaited grand reopening of the  Majestic Cinema on Monday 2 November 1953 at 7pm for the premiereshowing of the horror film The House of Wax, starring Vincent Price. This was also the first showing of a movie from a major motion-picture studio to be shot using the three-dimensional, or stereoscopic, film process and one of the first horror films to be shot in colour.

According to the Blackburn Times, the cinema had been given a new look after five weeks of renovation work.

‘Arc lamps spotlighted the externior decorations, the foyer was a mass of flowers, and the interior had been repainted from top to bottom. And of course there was a brand new silver screen, measuring 21 feet by 17 feet, which had replaced the older and much smaller one.

‘Queues to see the three dimensional horror film ‘The House of Wax’ began to form in drenching rain two hours before the opening. Those clustered round the King Wiliam Street entrance had a front-row view of the arrival of the civic party, headed by the Mayor (Coun R Weir). Also attending were the Mayor and Mayoress of Accrington (Coun and Mrs G Rothwell) and the Mayor and Mayoress of Darwen (Couns Mr and Mrs T Taylor).

‘There was a reception in the cinema lounge and the party took their places in the dress circle. Meanwhile, the stalls rapidly filled up.

‘Introductions were able handled by the ex-Manchester City and England goalkeeper, Frank Swift and the audience gave a great welcome to two more footfall personalities – Rovers Manager, Mr Johnny Cardy and Manchester United Manager, Mr Matt Busby.

‘Coun Weir referred to the changed uses of the 90-years old Exchange Hall, built originally for trade and commerce and to the ‘vast difference’ which television had made to attendances at cinemas. Three-D, which was a ‘revolution in photography’ should be the answer to TV competition.

‘The film iteslef, the first full-length 3-D feature to be shown in Blackburn, certainly warranted the Horror labelling. The 3-D effects were often stagey but realistic and the film made a considerable impact.


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