11th December 1916 - 'The Picture House' opens

A movie poster from the time when Salisbury Picture House opened - Charlie Chaplin - Behind_the_Screen

On the 11th December 1916, ‘The Picture House’ opened in Fisherton Street, Salisbury. The building had been a Methodist Chapel, and it was later to become the old ‘Salisbury Playhouse Theatre’.

Previously, as far as I’m aware, the only way people could see moving pictures was by going to see traveling picture shows - in November 1908 there was a letter in Bowerchalke’s Parish Newspaper commending ‘Mr Harry Newman’s Picture and Concert Party’. The Picture and Concert Party had set up in Bowerchalke schoolroom. The first half of the show was ventriloquism and conjuring, the second half was the picture show [1].

The trustees of the Primitive Methodist Chapel had been told that the building was unsafe - damage had been caused by flooding over the years. A man called Albany Ward purchased the old chapel and turned it into ‘The Picture House’[2].

Image Credit

The picture is an advert from a movie magazine of October 1916 - I guess that it’s likely that Chaplin films were shown in the early days of the Picture House.

By Chalmers (The Moving Picture World) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


[1] Rex Sawyer, Collett’s Farthing Newspaper: the Bowerchalke Village Newspaper 1878-1924 (p108)

[2] A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE THEATRE | Salisbury Playhouse