Our photograph this week shows The Salisbury Press Ltd which was established in 1907 and situated in Wilton Road, Salisbury.

The business was owned by Albany Ward, an entrepreneur who at one time owned and ran the largest cinema circuit in the country.

Mr Ward located his head office in Wilton Road where he also ran a successful bill board advertising company – he also operated a film renting company from offices in London.

In 1910 he leased the Palace Theatre in Endless Street to show ‘perfect pictures’ and that same year, he built and opened the ‘New Picturedrome and Theatre’ next to the Avon pub in Castle Street.

On the outbreak of World War One, Albany Ward realised that the thousands of troops stationed on Salisbury Plain would need entertainment and he later wrote, “I was of course at Salisbury which was my headquarters and I at once decided to offer my services to the War Department.”

As a result, Ward opened cinemas in every camp in the Southern Command area, including Larkhill, Fovant, Hurdcott, Sutton Veny, Heytesbury and two at Bulford. The military cinema circuit was in addition to the 29 film theatres now being operated by Albany Ward in the south west.

Albany Ward Theatres Ltd was finally wound up in 1951 but he remained in Salisbury focusing on developing houses in the Hulse Road area and his printing works. He remains something of a legend and in 1954 he claimed to be the oldest living representative of the cinema industry in the country. He died in Torquay in 1966.

Cinema remains an important form of entertainment and the recent rise of boutique and art house theatres have proved very successful.

Here in Salisbury Brown Street will be showing the 1922 film, Nosferatu on Friday October 29 as part of their Halloween celebrations.

Tickets at The Rocketship Bookshop in Bridge Street.


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