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Strand Cinema Belfast

Strand Cinema Belfast

strand stories

‘Strand Stories’ is an exciting new project – supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund – that aims to record, cherish and promote the social and architectural heritage of the Strand. Over two years, ‘Strand Stories’ will engage with a wide range of people in East Belfast and beyond, creating lots of opportunities to share memories of this landmark building and to engage with and learn about the heritage of the Strand. A main feature within east Belfast There is huge value in the social history of the Strand – this iconic building has been at the heart of the local community since 1935 and is part of the DNA of many generations within east Belfast. “I grew up with the Strand. The first ever film I saw was at the Strand. The Saturday kids cinema was brilliant. My own children were brought up going to the Strand and now my grandchildren go with me.” “It is part of the fabric of the area.” “It is simply part of what makes east Belfast.”

“Love this place. Loved it when I was a kid and love it even more now. It is a community treasure.”

It was to the Strand that many shipyard workers went on a Saturday night during the heyday of both cinema and Harland & Wolff, and there are plenty of couples who have fond memories of courting at the Strand. Many significant moments have brought the local community together at the Strand over the decades – over 1,000 schoolchildren watched the footage of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation here. And it was a beacon of light and hope during the Second World War and the Troubles. Our artistic programme often reflects local stories and provides a platform for local performers and filmmakers. And the Strand is regarded as having a feeling of “family” amongst customers, concierges, projectionists, usherettes and artists over many years. Find out more here: www.facebook.com/strandstoriesbelfast Do you have any memories of the Strand? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with our Heritage Officer at Rosie@strandartscentre.com

“Every Saturday morning for years I used to march a bunch of kids from our estate to the Minors at the Strand. Their mums would give me sixpence for the admission and a few pence for an ice cream and we would be there by 9.30 am. It was great, we had the cartoons, then a serial and then a funny movie and sometimes, at the end a talent competition. I’d walk the kids home, a fair walk for the little ones back to Ashmount park, I didn’t lose any of them. The mothers just wanted some peace and quiet for a few hours. I would only have been 8 or 9 but I was considered responsible enough to be in charge of half a dozen kids.

“My parents planned to take us to The Wizard of Oz there when it first came out but the line was so long we gave it away, I was bitterly disappointed. I saw so many movies there, one of my friends in primary school, Strand School on Connswater Avenue, her mother was an usherette and she would sit us in the front seat of the balcony while she was working, we saw at least a movie a week.
I saw my first James Bond at the Strand – might have been Dr No or Goldfinger?

“I saw the Beatles Hard Day’s night there and every Elvis Presley Movie – you could sit through a movie two or three times as they ran continuously but you also had to sit through the news and a B movie.” Maureen Wheeler

“When I was growing up in East Belfast in the middle 50s to 60s I was a frequent visitor to the Strand Picture House. I have many many memories of the place, no more so than going to ‘the Minors’ on a Saturday morning to see Batman & Robin, cartoons, etc. The prices were thrupence (3d bit) downstairs and sixpence (a tanner) to the balcony but if you where lucky you could sneak upstairs without paying the extra.” Ken Mills

“I started going to the Strand when I was about 10 and I’m still going now aged 78! The Strand was always a love place to go – especially for a cuddle in the back row. Then when I had children, I would bring them along. I’m delighted the cinema is still there and being used by the local community. If they had torn it down, it would have broken my heart. It’s such a landmark.” Norma McCullough

“I remember going with a friend and his parents to see Star Wars and that really had me hooked.  Going to the movies seemed to be a special treat because it was always at holiday times that I went.  ET, Return of the Jedi, Moonraker were some of the films that I remember viewing when I was off school.” Alan McClurg, Strand projectionist

“One of my fondest memories of the Strand Cinema was going to see the film of the Queen’s Coronation. Wow! What a treat for a little girl from East Belfast. I thought I was there in person.” Belle Bell

“I was brought up in Grampian Street at the Arches. In the 1960’s ABC Minors at the Strand was my boyhood pleasure palace. We lined up every Saturday morning outside in front of the commissioner in his long burgundy coat and official cap. He kept us waiting outside until 10.30 on the dot and would only let us in if we were wearing our ABC Minors badges.” Ken Belshaw

Let us know what the Strand means to you, and what you would like to see in a refurbished venue.  Share your Strand story!