St. Margaret's Hall

49 St. Margaret's Street,
Bradford-on-Avon, BA15 1DA

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Additional Info

Functions: Community Center, Movies

Previous Names: Alexander Cinema

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St. Margaret's Hall

In the small Wiltshire town of Bradford-on-Avon, situated between Bath and Trowbridge, St. Margaret’s Hall was an early-19th century factory where wool and woollen cloth were dyed under the ownership of members of the Spackman, Timbrell and Moore families. This activity ceased in 1903. In 1917 the building was converted into the 450-seat Alexander Cinema, with the addition of the present foyer.

The group of businessmen who owned it traded as The Alexander Picture Theatre Ltd. In 1923 the manager was Mr E. Hewitt.

At the end of the 1920’s ownership transferred to Avon Cinema Company Ltd, who installed a British Thomson Houston(BTH) sound system. The stage (12ft deep) was still used for occasional variety shows. At this time the cinema could seat 500; later this was reduced to 450.

Film shows ended when the Alexander Cinema was taken over by the Urban District Council in 1959. The building was refurbished and re-opened as a 160-seat public hall.

Contributed by David Simpson

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

DavidSimpson on April 30, 2023 at 1:11 am

Happily, films are still being shown at what is now St. Margaret’s Hall. Indeed, Bradford on Avon Film Society, founded in 1989, has been showing films here since then. Initially, a 16mm projector was situated at the rear of the hall, but later on a 35mm projector was installed in the original projection box. In 2013 a major refurbishment programme was undertaken by the town council, including the installation of retractable seating, which enables the hall to host a full range of events. Since then, the society has used a digital projector.

Film Society seasons run from October to March, with 15 films being shown on Fridays. I visited on 20th January 2023, when the main feature was “The Lost King”, starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan. In a nice ‘heritage’ touch, it was supported by “The Coming of the Dial”, a GPO short from 1933 about the automation of telephone exchanges. A near capacity audience was testament to the popularity of these shows.

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