The Theatre by the Lake tends to take centre stage when it comes to entertainment, but there is another little gem in Keswick, and it is quite the quintessential Alhambra cinema. Built in 1913 the cinema has been showing the stars of the silver screen and theatre to many a generation, being one of only a few picture houses open for over 100 years, through 2 World Wars and its service to all, it’s popular screening of the film ‘The Clouded Yellow’ filmed on location in the Lakes with Jean Simmons and Trevor Howard through to Queen’s Coronation which saw hundreds flock to the cinema.
Keswick’s Alhambra cinema is a beautiful place to see a whole host and variety of cinematic experience in its spectacular and traditional newly refurbished picture house, which has gained and continues to gain much loved recognition not just within its local community of Keswick but its followers across the globe alike.
It boasts great access, which continues in making cinema an experience and an enjoyable night out for all, the staff and volunteers work tirelessly in keeping it going to serve the community whilst also lovingly and enthusiastically being part of the fabric of cinema itself.
The Alhambra takes me back to days of stories told by my grandparents of how they looked forward to the Saturday matinee and eventually letting my dad off to enjoy his pocket money, whether it be sneaking in to see ‘A’ rated films or smooching in the back rows, from the black and white news reels that everyone chatted through to classics and cartoons of the likes of Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny, and my families favourite of Tom and Jerry which not long after became mine too, but Dad always seemed to love the Westerns and I think that’s why I used to always race around after lunch and visit my Grandad on a Saturday as we always then got to watch the Saturday afternoon shootout at the Ok Coral with sweets and pop from the pop man!
I always remember my first visit to the cinema, I was seven years old, my Dad took me, the queues were long and it was a cold winters evening, we went to see the very first Star Trek film around the Christmas of 1979, that and the popcorn instantly had me hooked on Sci-Fi, but it was not in the beautifully crafted building like the Alhambra but my local picture house which unfortunately has not survived the test of time and to my point of how fortunate we are still to have such an iconic part of history on our doorstep and to one in which I and my family will hopefully be able to continue to enjoy for years to come.
If you want to take a walk down memory lane, then I would implore everyone to watch the 30 minute Centenary year (2014) film by Cockermouth film maker Joel Baker, it’s a great way to see the history and celebration of the Alhambra and if you go direct to the cinema’s website you will be able to catch it there and even book a show or two.
A big thank you to all that love and are a part of the cinema and kept this extraordinary place going through thick and thin for the benefit of our local community and tourists alike.
So take a bow Alhambra Keswick, the staff, the volunteers, the community and the stars of the stage and silver screen and may we continue to say ‘Lights, Camera, Action’ for another 100 years to come!