The Broadway Cinema Railings

When the Broadway Cinema opened in 1939, there were small iron railings around the corner of Glasgow Road and Station Road, protecting public from traffic. During the war years, as with most iron railings all over the UK, they were cut and removed for the war effort. (Look at many stone walls in Blantyre, you may see the stumps of this as evidence!).

1962 Broadway cinema BlantyreThe cinema was well received in Blantyre and quickly become more popular than the Dookit Cinema (further along Glasgow Road). Pictured here in 1962, the cinema has no railings as was the case for several post war decades.

Unfortunately, the decision to have put the railings there in the first place, proved the right one, when in 1946 with no railings to protect people from traffic, a little girl Netta Valerio, sister of Velma (whose father was of Mickey’s fame) was killed on the road at this location. According to late historian Jimmy Cornfield, the family shortly after paid for railings to be reinstated at the corner, although they seem to have vanished again by this 1962 picture. Speaking to a family member in recent years, I have since  learned this was not the case.

The Broadway Cinema closed for good in the early 70s. Carmen Wood of Sanquhar emailed me on 25th November 2014, saying “Dad  married Celia Lombardi,whose father had Vincies chip shop on Glasgow Road.Her younger brother,Carlo is still alive,(83) and lives in the original building. His cousin,Velma Valerio,is also going strong, 87 (father was “Wee Mickey”). I seem to remember the Broadway’s sad end was because of a major fire. All the immediate neighbours on Station/Glasgow Roads being evacuated from our houses and ushered by the fire service to a safe distance on the pavements.Cannot recall the exact date,but yes it was early 1970’s, I think!”

 

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