This Spot, now the Shoulder of Mutton pub, was once home to the Empress Cinema. The cinema was purpose built in 1925 and modernised in 1938 with an extended auditorium and an Art Deco facade by the noted cinema architect Joseph Gomersall of Drury & Gomersall, Manchester, to maintain its attraction and support from the public.
The cinema was ran by Mr. Eldred Fletcher. acting as the projectionist and general manager. while his wife Eva was in charge of the front of house. In the early days of the cinema a lady was employed to accompany the silent films on a piano. For a short time she was joined by a violinist, but he complained that she ate while playing and scratched her back.
Programmes were changed three times a week with performances at 6:45pm and 9:00pm. Shows started with local adverts including Walkers Ice Cream – sold in the cinema from 3¼inch glass slides. This would be followed by “Gaumont British News” and two or three short films including Disney cartoons, The Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy, finally followed by the main feature film.
During the war and immediately after the business flourished. There were queues right up the road, and children from the Children’s Home and everyone from the Workhouse (later The Elms) has free seats.