Saturday morning cinema for kids in the local pub.
That was the story in the Courier back in March 1975.
It reported that Uncle Bill, Pied Piper of the Jack and Jill in Lillington (licensee Bill McCarthy), has helped to solve a problem for children living on the large local housing estates: what can we do on Saturdays?
After watching children playing dangerously one Saturday morning, Mr McCarthy, who moved to the Jack and Jill public house last November, thought back to his boyhood and decided to revive the idea of a Saturday morning cinema club for the children.
Now, every Saturday morning, ‘Uncle Bill’, a former professional photographer, sets aside the comfortable lounge for an hour to entertain the youngsters with Woody Woodpecker, crisps and soft drinks. Some of the golden oldies, like Laurel and Hardy, prove as popular as the newer cartoons like Tom and Jerry.
In only four weeks, attendances have risen from 30 to more than 100 and mums and dads are leaving their children while they shop in Lillington, or have a drink in another bar. All alcoholic drinks are, of course, forbidden in the lounge during film time.
Ansells Brewery asked for local opinion and, although one head teacher said she would prefer the cinema sessions to be held in the community hall, another said it was a good way for the children to identify with the community.
Mr McCarthy hopes to introduce talks and other activities during weekdays in school holidays.
Excerpt from the forthcoming book: ‘Pubs of Royal Leamington Spa - Two Centuries of History’ by Allan Jennings, Martin Ellis and Tom Lewin. Photo courtesy of Sheila McCarthy.