Readers recount their memories of fire that destroyed old Huntingdon cinema

The fire at the Grand cinema in Huntingdon was in March 1954

The fire at the Grand cinema in Huntingdon was in March 1954 - Credit: Archant

Last week we published a photograph of the old Grand Cinema in Huntingdon and received an interesting response from readers who remember visiting the cinema in Fountain Inn Yard.

Michael Ruston wrote to say: "The cinema was behind Murketts car showroom which fronted onto the High Street and you went through an archway between the two showrooms to get to it.

"It burnt down one Saturday night. Next door to Murketts was Ridgeleys the grocery shop and next door to them was our ironmongery shop, F.T Ruston and Sons Ltd.

"At the time we lived at 8 St Peter's Road and my father took us down on Sunday morning to see the ruins.

"I was about eight-years-old at the time and there would have been concern about the fire spreading to the adjacent buildings as they were all joined up or very close."

Georgina Myers said she went to the cinema at least twice a week when she was a teenager, and also to the Hippodrome, in High Street.

"It had a cafe called the Nickel Coin," she said.

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"We all hung out in the Nickel Coin which had a back room just for teenagers. There was a juke box, dance floor, but no alcohol, it was so much fun."

Peter Haddon, from Upwood, who volunteers at the Ramsey Rural Museum, told us: "The photo [last week's] dates from late January 1958. The film 10 Commandments opened in the first week of February and was there for two weeks and then went to The Grand in Ramsey."

Peter's family ran the Grand cinemas in Huntingdon and Ramsey for many years. His father Bill showed films at the Grand when it was based at the old Huntingdon Corn Exchange, which closed and was later rebuilt as a cinema in Fountain Inn Yard.

The first cinema in Huntingdon was called The Gem, which was in Grammar School Walk, and this was later a junk shop and then a pizza restaurant.

Peter told us there was also a Hippodome Cinema in the High Street where Boots is now.

The fire at The Grand was in March 1954 and the film showing at the time was Shane. The headline in the Hunts Post that week was "Cinema gutted by early morning blaze".

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