Saturday, 16 July 2016

The Bedford Picturedrome Cinema

I finished my needle-felted picture of the Britannia Ironworks clock tower and there were still a few months left before the Weaving Narratives exhibitions in September and October. Could I squeeze in another picture?

Well, it was worth a try! I went back through my scrapbook (well, most of it is on my PC and Android phone...) looking for another project. Then I remembered some photos I'd seen of the Bedford Picturedrome Cinema.

Bedford town centre had four cinemas at one time, but now all have been demolished. The last one to be pulled down was the Granada in 1991 and any Bedfordians who spent their youth there are still upset about that 25 years later!

The Picturedrome was the first Bedford Cinema to be built and possibly the first to be demolished, too. It's life span was from 1910 to 1964. When I first saw the pictures I couldn't believe that anyone would knock down such a striking building and replace it with the ugly concrete block now known as the Park Inn Hotel.

Here they are if you'd like to compare:

Park Inn
And just take a look at this advert!

But according to Bedford Library, The Picturedrome was known in later years as The Fleapit and had problems when the river flooded (someone walked out of the door one night and fell straight in the river!) So maybe the reality wasn't as romantic as the photos suggest.

I couldn't resist attempting to bring it back to life, but could I manage all those details with felt? If I couldn't I could always try embroidery instead.

I used the same technique as the Britannia Clock Tower, I traced a photo emailed to me by Pamela Birch of the Bedfordshire Archives...

....then flipped it over, drew on the back with a fabric transfer pen and ironed it onto felt. I kept the temperature of the iron a little lower than last time as, with the clock tower, I could see the heat was just starting to damage the felt. Unfortunately the pen didn't transfer as well at a lower heat setting, but the image was just about good enough to work with.

Then I got to work with the needle. This is where I'm up to now (I abandoned the embroidery!)...
I'll post another photo soon!