The secret cinema at number 28

From the outside, 28 Crossley Moor Lane, Kingsteignton, looks like any other post war semi-detached three bedroomed house with parking and a garage.

The house is for sale, put on the market by Clare and Matt Tinnyunt after Clare’s father died. But the property held a secret up until last week. Although the garage from the outside looked like a garage, it was in fact a fifteen-seat cinema built by Clare’s father nearly thirty years ago.

He died recently but he had worked for most of his life as a projectionist, having started as a re-wind boy in the projection room at the old Paramount cinema in Birmingham when the war started in 1939.

Neville then worked at various cinemas before becoming chief projectionist at the Danilo Cinema in Stourbridge in the West Midlands.

When the cinema went into decline during the sixties with television becoming more widely available, many old picture houses closed down and old equipment, seats and ticket machines were thrown out. Clare’s father collected much of the old cinema scrap and transformed the garage of number 28 Crossley Moor Road into a 15 seat Cameo Cinema.

The Moorlander was invited to the last picture show at the Cameo Cinema, a Laurel and Hardy evening, before the quaint little cinema was dismantled and put into storage. Clare sold tickets and Matt in his commissionaire uniform showed people to their seats before the show.

During the interval Clare sold ice creams. Clare and her husband Matt, who live in Ashburton, one day hope to rebuild the cinema. Clare said that one evening recently she and Matt were watching a film in the cinema when the next-door neighbour knocked on the front door concerned that she could see a light on in the house.

Clare told her they were watching a film in the cinema and the neighbour, who had lived next door for thirty years, was shown into the Cameo Cinema. She was amazed as she never knew the cinema was there. Over the years film evenings were held to raise money for charities.

Stuart Clarke

Author: Stuart Clarke

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