Thursday, 21 June 2012

The New Theatre

On Monday, December 22nd. 1910, Mr. George Aspland Howden presented his first movie programme at the New Theatre in the Market Place. The films of 1910 were very different from the films we have today and were much shorter in length and so nine to twelve items went to make up the evening's entertainment. That first programme had nine items including "Cross Country Running" and "Transport in Indo-China" To modern eyes they would appear very crude and amateurish but you can imagine the thrill which they gave to the Bostonians of those pre World War I days.

The following month Mr. Howden introduced "stage turns" to add variety to the programme. The first artiste engaged was Arthur Newstead , the popular Lincolnshire dialect and character comedian, and he was followed by Frank Rainbow who was one of the members of Clement's Entertainers of Skegness and everybody's favourite at the time.

Incidentally, that same week during which Frank Rainbow delighted the patrons of the theatre, the first big classic of those days was screened there, this was "Uncle Tom's Cabin" from the famous novel.

Also seen about this time was a film called "Animated Putty" which Mr. Howden said was the forerunner of the cartoons of the time.
The middle 1920's saw the next big milestone in the theatres history when it was rebuilt at a cost of upwards of £20,000. It re-opened its doors on October 18th. 1926 with the stage show "The Cabaret Girl". There were many successes staged at the theatre during the years that followed and a couple are worth a mention, one was "Mr. Tower of London" in which the one and only Gracie Fields appeared.
Gracie Fields (centre) in "Mr. Tower of London."

She was well received by the audience but the show attracted no more than the usual patronage, and probably few Bostonians foresaw the heights which the young star was one day to achieve. The other was the Christmastide visit of Bale's Continental Stage Circus, and it was recorded that so strong was the stage that it never even creaked when elephants walked on it.
The first real synchronised talking picture shown there was "The Broadway Melody" in February 1930.

Another history maker was "Hollywood Revue" the first talkie in colour to be screened in Boston. In the 40's and 50's films like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", the "Tarzan" films and "Lassie" never failed to attract full houses.

Latterly the then pop stars of the day performed there and it was demolished in the late 1950's or early 1960's. I regret that I have only one memory of going there and that was to see a pantomime when I was very young and all I remember was a pillar being in my line of vision!!


  1. roger charlton21 June 2012 at 10:26

    i remember going there with my eldest sister maureen to see a randolph scott cowboy film ,she let out a scream a rat had just gone over her foot ,you had to be careful where you sat as a lot of the seats had springs sticking out happy days

  2. round about 1958/59 my brother and myself went to see russ conway in one show and the mudlarks in another,i would be about 14 then, great days

    1. What a good memory you have. Russ Conway appeared for a week at the New Theatre Boston commencing on Monday October 19th 1959.

      Such a shame the theatre was demolished.

  3. I met my wife in the New Theatre in September 1958. A lovley old cinema to go too.
    Sadly no logner with us.