ON the night of Monday, November 11, 1935, various groups of Amesbury folk made their way for the first time to their own cinema, instead of having to travel to Salisbury. The Plaza served the people of Amesbury well before finally being demolished in the early 1990s.

But our photograph this week takes us back to happier times and shows a very special occasion from 1956 when the Plaza was celebrating its 21st Birthday. The day included a visit from three film stars, the showing of a newly released feature film, and a collection of new and old films plus newsreels. The three stars were presented in turn to the large audience by Mr HRS Duncan, the manager of the cinema.

The stars were Miss Dorothy Alison, Mr Peter Arne and Miss Magda Miller. All three were received with enthusiasm. After Miss Alison’s introduction she handed Mr Duncan a giant key on behalf of the J Arthur Rank Organisation.

Mr Duncan also produced a souvenir programme which included some fascinating statistics concerning the place and its twenty-one years. Five and a half million people had been to see over 6,552 feature films plus news reels and short films. Over 917, 000 patrons had climbed the 36 stairs to see the films from the circle.

And what had these customers bought to eat and drink over the 21 years? 18,000 gallons of ice cream had been consumed, 3,822 gallons of soft drink swallowed and four and a half tons of nuts chewed.

Over 15 million cigarettes had been smoked and what about the litter? Cleaners had picked up over those 21 years more than 182 tons of waste paper. To heat the place, 658 tons of coke had been used!