Woodbury Cinema

Woodbury Road,
Stourport-on-Severn, DY13 8XR

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In Stourport-on-Severn, in the Wyre Forest District of North Worcestershire, a few miles to the south of Kidderminster, the Woodbury Cinema seems to have been a rather intriguing operation!

The Woodbury Cinema was owned and run by Mr Osborne. He had an electrical business and workshop in Lombard Street, Stourport, where he sold televisions, record players, radios, radiograms and other electrical goods (he was one of the first in town to sell records of pop artists of the 1950’s and the 1960’s).

The cinema is said to have been set up in a house; if so, was certainly a reasonably large property. (It is not known whether this was Mr Osborne’s own home.) He started it by showing instructional films for air cadets and, more informally, hosting a few friends from the American military base at nearby Burlish Camp, where American soldiers had first arrived in 1943.

The ‘cinema’ gradually grew, and expanded to cater for a larger audience, eventually seating about 50 patrons. It was certainly more than just a ‘basic’ operation, as there were screen tabs and two (presumably 35mm) projectors.

When the Americans left, the Woodbury Cinema became a more regular, public picture house.

Former patrons remembered seeing films such as “Little Women” (1949), starring June Allyson and Peter Lawford, and the comedy classic “Genevieve” (1953), starring John Gregson and Kenneth More. (They also remembered the wooden seats at the front!) However, by the early 1970’s, sex films appear to have predominated.

The Woodbury Cinema closed in 1976. The following year, planning permission was granted for conversion of the property into a Pentecostal Church. After the work, which cost £18,000, had been carried out, the church moved in during November 1977.

Their tenure was not to last very long, however. The church moved out in the 1980’s, their services being transferred to St. John’s School in nearby Kidderminster.

The building was sold for redevelopment, and a block of eight flats was built on the site.

Contributed by David Simpson
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