Silent cinema in Ulster

Picture House

The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, in Cultra, Co. Down, is known for its exhibitions on the way of life of the people of Northern Ireland, including not just artefacts but sometimes relocated original buildings. Current activity at the museum is seeing the installation of a traditional hardware shop, a draper’s shop, a dispensary, and a cinema. True to form, the cinema originally operated in the upstairs of a barn in the town of Gilford, in the 1920s. It has now been rebuilt in its entirety at Cultra, and the intention will be to operate it as a cinema once more.

There a BBC northern Ireland report on the story here and a Northern Ireland Executive press release here. The latter fascinatingly gives the costs of installing the Gilford Silent Cinema:

EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (NITB) £541,441
Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure £432,269
Heritage Lottery Fund £177,900
Foundation for Sport and the Arts £34,500
Total £1,186,110

Which seems like quite a lot of money. But, as the Northern Ireland Museums Minister said,

“In today’s world children instantly understand the technology behind DVDs, television and film. The learning spaces in the cinema will play a key role in helping them understand film production in days gone by. This can only benefit everyone and contribute to a better and more tolerant society.”

Well, amen to that.

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