ASTLEY LEASURE

Cinemas

Astley's one and only cinema was the Kinema opened April 1921, the building still stand in Cross Hillock, the one time projectionist was James (Jim) Lester who later worked at the Theatre Royal Cinema in Tyldesley. The cinema was owned by Elizabeth Barnes and Fred Antrobus, Elizabeth died 25 November 1942 and her executors Josiah Yarwood, Oliver Walton and Fred Antrobus dissolved the partnership. Fred carried on as sole proprietor from 7th April 1943 after discharging all the liabilities.The manager was Edmund Barnes and after 34 years it closed it's doors 16 July 1955

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ASTLEY SPORT

Bare Knuckle Prize Fight

An illegal prize fight was to be held on Astley Moss December 1865. The men and their backers had arrived on the first train from Liverpool, but the police had been informed and officers were dispatched to the scene of the action. By the time the officers arrived the battle had long been fought having lasted about half an hour, and it was evident from their battered faces that the fight had not been a sham one. The combatants James McCauley and James Singleton were both Liverpool men and there with three of their backers were apprehended and brought by train to Leigh, along with the ropes that formed the ring.As the ground they fought on was in the Manchester division they were conveyed there the same night.The backer John Campbell and the two fighters were bailed for three months on £20 each. The other two were discharged on insufficient evidence.

 

TYLDESLEY

 LEISURE

An Interesting Night Out in Bongs

Old times revived, the great sporting drum is now at Mr. John Mercers Gin and Bitters Tavern, Lime Street, Tyldesley. The coming events at the new celebrated sporting establishment are as follows. The latest tips and moves for the Liverpool Cup, Goodwood Stakes and Cup, Ebor Handicap and York Cup, Doncaster, St. Ledger and Cup, Goodwood Stakes and Cup, also a real good thing for the Cesarawith Stakes now 200-1. The great fights between Goss and Macey and Heenan and King - Mr. M radiates with smiles and gives a welcome to all. Here may be found the finest sparkling draught and bottled ales, prime draught and bottled porter, Cooper, Cider, Cigars etc. Tranquil waiters, first rate accommodation. Special attention, and muslin cared for. The Sprites on this (Saturday) evening, are Mr. T. and Mr. D. courteous, polite and graceful, assisted by a host of first rate talent, and must be seen to be appreciated. Let all if they wish to be served well, speak out, find out and patronise the Gin and Bitters Tavern, Lime Street, Tyldesley sole proprietor Mr. John Mercer. The odds laid or commission executed on all sporting events to come.

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A Night with Edwin Waugh

A one night only appearance of Edwin Waugh in the Temperance and Education Hall April 1866 reading from his own works, this will be interspersed with vocal and instrumental music.

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THEATRES

Tyldesley Little Theatre

Following the interest of a small group of people who met in 1943 to discuss the formation of a play reading and discussion group, they opened a theatre in 1949. Located in Lemon Street the Tyldesley Little Theatre has a small 150 seat auditorium  with a traditional proscenium arch stage, stalls and balcony seating.

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Hague's Minstrels at the Assembly Room

This well known troop of Negro Minstrels from the St. James Hall Liverpool gave one of their amusing performances in the Assembly Rooms on the 27 November 1883. The hall was crowded by an audience of about 800 persons, and in spite of being packed close together engaged the performance provided by the "niggers"

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SKATING

Skating Rink for Tyldesley

A Skating Rink was opened by Joseph Wood in commodious premises situated between Blossom Street and John Street in 1909. A music license was granted for instrumental music the conditions were that it should close at 10 o’clock

The old Skating Rink behind the George & Dragon was being used as an auction room in 1914

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CINEMAS

The Miners Hall

Although not a picture house it was an early but short venue that projected a season of films in 1908

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Theatre Royal Cinema

Located in John Street the Theatre Royal Cinema was opened in 1909 as the most up to date in animated pictures and refined variety and closed on the 20 June 1958

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Carlton Cinema

The Carlton Cinema owned by Joseph Woods Theatres opened it's doors on the 22 July 1911 on the west side of Johnson Street with seating for 450, it was fitted with an RCA sound system. It served its purpose until the 1938 when it closed in favour of a new cinema. It stood derelict for many years, but was finally demolished to make way for a car park

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New Carlton Theatre

The New Carlton Cinema was built on the site of five demolished houses and opened 16 February 1939. Cinema-Scope was introduced in the 1950s and it served the people of Tyldesley for 23 years closing in March 1962 in favour of a Bingo Hall. It later became a fireplace warehouse; the building was burned out in May 2008 in an arson attack and was demolished for a housing project the following year.

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Majestic Cinema

Located in Castle Street the Majestic was a purpose built cinema, the proprietors were Union Playhouse Ltd. of Wigan it also contained a 16 table billiard room and opened in April 1923 . In March 1930 a Western Electric sound system was fitted with Cinema-Scope being added in the mid 1950s the last manager was Tony Heaton. In 1962 it was purchased by the Council and let to Eagle Picturedrome  It closed in 1963.

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FAIRS and TRAVELLING SHOWS

Manders Mammoth Menagerie

 Manders Mammoth Menagerie attended Tyldesley for the first time April 1867, and was thronged in the evening by hundreds of visitors. It was a one day event and when they had left it was found that the waggons transporting the animals had broken every one of the newly laid paving stones. The Tyldesley Board was to bill them for the damage.

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Manders Grand National Star Menagerie

On January 6th 1869 a triumphant procession entered Tyldesley headed by Moccambo in his great Golden Band Chariot drawn by Elephants, Camels and Dromedaries, the Grand Dragon Chariot drawn by an Elephant and a Brahma bull, the State Harness Waggon drawn by Elephants and two Dromedaries, the Mother of Pearl Baroche drawn by four richly caparisoned piebald Mules, the great Mandernethila drawn by twelve splendid grey Horses, the Residential Saloon drawn by four magnificent Horses with silver trappings, 15 Immense caravans drawn by fifty powerful draught Horses. A Gnu or horned horse, African and Asiatic Elephants, Zebras, full grown Saluctropogoss the only one caged in Europe. A monster Polar Bear, a Mandrill or blue faced Gorilla, three Indian Prairie Fiends, a full grown Orangutan, three monster African Gorillas, Royal Scotch Lions, Lemurs, Tasmanian Devils, five hundred specimens of Living Natural History. Martini Moccambo with his performing Lions, Tigers and Elephants

Tyldesley January 6th Leigh January 7th Warrington January 8th and 9th sole proprietor Mr. William Manders Adults 1/- Children under ten 6p

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Samwells Great Circus 1870

Samwells Great Circus now open on Hilton's bowling green Tyldesley 24 September 1870 with a troupe of male and female equestrians - a stud of highly trained horses and ponies - funny clowns led by the inimitable Bowen - also the wonderful performing goat, the only one ever to perform an act of horsemanship leaping banners etc.- Great troupe of the greatest performing dogs in the world with the great clown dog wonder of the 19th century. Carpeted seats 1/-, pit 6p, gallery 3p.

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A Visit To Tyldesley Wakes 1870

The annual event of Tyldesley Wakes stems from around 1802 when bull baiting and cock fighting were active amusements, it was a time of sporting games for prizes, feasting and much drunken behaviour. Over the years it slowly evolved to a two week event, with travelling shows and fairground amusements on the common, and stalls selling food and other goods lined Elliot Street. In 1870 these stalls came under the watchful eye of the Local Board who decided that these stalls pitched on the newly flagged pavements must pay a charge per linear foot occupied.

The annual Tyldesley Wakes was well attended this year the weather being fine. In the way of large shows there was only a few one being Samwells Circus and another a travelling theatre of the "three murders a penny class". None of the old fashioned stamp of the shape of giants, dwarfs, fat babies, bearded ladies, spotted children or any other natural or manufactured curiosities were to be seen. A great business was done at the rifle galleries, the continual cracking of the shots resembles a miniature field day and the smell of "villainous saltpetre" in the form of bad powder hung about the neighbourhood. The circular bicycles and merry go rounds also received a large share of the treasured pence of the youngsters. In the edible (and indigestible) line there was toffee, gingerbreads, Eccles cakes, brandy snaps, boiled peas, with nuts sufficient to employ the molars of a "wilderness of monkeys". The vendor of oysters and mussels must have had a good "opening" this year to judge by the pile of empty shells lately belonging to these molluscae which they left behind. On Sunday and Monday a large number of people thronged the streets and public houses of Tyldesley and although the "drinking customs of the country" were not honoured in the breach, there were no disturbances, and the duties of the police were confined to taking care of the few inebriates who imbibed more liqueur than they could carry.

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Tyldesley Wakes 1909

This annual fair seems to have grown in popularity and the quantity of roundabouts, swings, shows and catch pennies was greater than ever. The number of people from surrounding districts was exceptionally large. The fairground was packed to its upmost capacity and the various caters of amusement did a large amount of business. The event was marred somewhat by a young lady falling off one of the roundabouts, but she escaped with light injuries and a shaking.

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DANCE

The Botanical Gardens

A dancing saloon was erected at the the garden of the Atherton and Tyldesley Botanical Society in 1877 which it was believed would increase their popularity, Refreshments of a non intoxicating variety were to be provided.

 

SPORT

Foot Racing

Thomas Marsh and Robert Harris0n alias Baker both of Tyldesley ran a foot race at Ince Recreation Ground in April 1880 for £5 a side. The distance was 120 yards and before the race 22 shillings to the £ was freely laid on Harrison. It was a good start and Marsh gained 6 inches. It was seen that Marsh would win easily, an easy victory. Marsh the reputed champion of Tyldesley would not run again for two months, and then would accept a challenge from any Tyldesley man at 120 or 150 yards for £50 or a £100 a side

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Wrestling Match May 1883

A Wrestling match between James Faulkner (Alias Wash) of Tyldesley and James Barker of Leigh to wrestle the best of three back falls in the Lancashire style for £25 a side, neither man to exceed 6 score 5 lbs. was decided at the Borough Grounds, Oldham. Both men were very clever exponents of the art and the first round occupied little time and Faulkner made his own downfall, but he subsequently made amends for this mishap. Faulkner won the match which was a foregone conclusion for Barker after he had gained the first fall.

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