THE nostalgic sights and sounds of a 'night at the flicks', complete with usherettes and ice cream girls, made a popular return to Chester for one night only.

The sold-out charity event at Upton Village Hall was organised by cinema enthusiast Peter Davies of the popular website and a team of volunteer helpers.

Introduced by Dee 106's Sunday Show presenter Simon Davies, the event celebrated Chester’s long lost picture palaces with an exhibition of memorabilia, photographs and a newly created video featuring a history of the cinemas in Chester and some of the famous films screened in them.

Also shown were vintage cinema trailers, Pearl and Dean adverts and a main feature film, the Mel Brooks classic comedy Young Frankenstein starring Gene Wilder.

A donation from each ticket sold for the event was made to The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and, together with proceeds from the raffle, a total of almost £300 was raised for the charity on the night.

Cinema historian and author David A Ellis was on hand during the evening to answer questions about the wealth of archive material from the Roger Shone Collection which was on display in the hall and included items such as film posters, photographs, usherettes torches and reels of film from Chester's former cinemas including The Regal, Gaumont, Majestic and The Odeon.

Speaking about the success of the event, which recreated the traditional format of an evening at the cinema which was commonplace at picture houses throughout the UK, Peter – himself a former Chester Regal ABC and Odeon projectionist – said: “This was our second large-scale event and we were delighted with the response from the public who were all keen to once again enjoy this trip down memory lane.

"The biggest round of applause wasn’t for the feature film but for our ice cream girls Julie Davies and former Chester Odeon usherette Felicity Brace, who appeared at the interval with original cinema trays brimming with assorted ice creams.”

Peter added: “It was a unique opportunity to screen a comedy masterpiece with a large audience which created the atmosphere that made the evening such a success.

"Afterwards, many stayed to chat and say how much they had enjoyed the experience of watching a movie presented in the traditional way of how cinemas used to put on the programmes, and requested that we continued with the shows in the same format.

"The amount of voluntary help that we received to stage the event was amazing, and very much appreciated. We were also grateful to Floods Properties of Queensferry who sponsored the prizes for the raffle, with the proceeds also being donated to The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

"We’re looking forward to organising the next one now and we hope it will just as popular."

  • A wealth of information, photos and memories of Chester’s long lost Cinemas can be found at