If it was a cowboy picture they would play fast, if it was a love scene the music would be slow and romantic.
The Albion Cinema is where Norfolk Court is built now. There were six picture halls in North Shields; The Comedy, The Boro, The Howard, The Gaiety, The Albion, plus one other. The Theatre Royal was in old Prudhoe Street, Theatre Place. It was live theatre and Saturday afternoon was when most children used to go. The companies used to stay in the great big old houses on Borough Road.
I was born 1909 and was five years old when the First World War was declared. As a special treat Mother let my eldest sister take me to the pictures. I can remember her shouting when there was a soldier on the screen, “Ooh there’s my Daddy” and there were umpteen soldiers, but she was looking for Dad. That was at the Howard Hall in Howard Street.
When there were silent pictures, there was always a piano near the screen which someone played according to what was going on. If it was a cowboy picture they would play fast, if it was a love scene the music would be slow and romantic. When the safety screen came down with all the advertisements on, we used to play “I spy” looking at all the adverts. Quite often, the man used to do everything in the cinema, sell the tickets, play the piano.