CBA Cinema

Shipdham Road,
Dereham, NR19 1JL

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CBA Cinema

Toftwood is a locality within the town of Dereham, in Norfolk. It is (or, at least, was) home to one of the strangest entries on Cinema Treasures.

Back in the early-1980’s, Colin Aldis, a depot supervisor for Dairy Crest who also managed the CBA Cinema in Dereham (now the Orion, see separate Cinema Treasures entry), decided to act out his lifetime ambition and own and run his own cinema. To achieve this, he converted a building in his back garden, that had housed his model railway layout, into the CBA Cinema (“CBA” presumably being his initials).

The conversion cost around £10,000. At its CinemaScope ratio, the screen was 16ft wide, and there were two Kalee 11 projectors.

Opened in 1983, the 30-seat CBA Cinema was run entirely by Mr Aldis, his wife Miriam and their daughter Belinda.

Ventures such as this do not usually warrant an entry in Cinema Treasures as they are ‘private’ cinemas. But Mr Aldis appears to have welcomed members of the general public from the beginning - and, in around March 1991, Empire film magazine awarded the CBA Cinema five stars for its staffing and four stars for its seating and sound and picture quality!

Then, in November 1992, Trevor Wicks, who had brought the CBA Cinema at Dereham into his Hollywood Cinemas circuit, decided to “re-open” the CBA at Toftwood, due to audience demand at the larger cinema. “Patriot Games”, starring Harrison Ford, if not the first film at Toftwood, was certainly among the first shown there under this new arrangement.

It is not known how long this lasted. The CBA at Toftwood was listed in the British Film & TV Handbooks until at least 2000, but I recall doing some research in the late-1990’s and, I believe, it was not operating (at least for the public) at that time.

Contributed by David Simpson
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