1918 court: Cinema’s lack of exits stalls licence renewal

At the Scarborough Police Court today Mr Tasker Hart applied for a cinematograph licence for the Picturedrome in Newborough Street, refused at the Brewster Sessions.

Mr Hart said the chief constable required exits to be constructed at the back, sanitary conveniences to be improved, the nim winding to be improved, gas jets to be provided, and ventilation improved, whilst some cocoa matting he considered was unsuitable.

Mr Gibson was able to carry out, and would carry out, the whole of these alterations except the exits at the back.

Mr Gibson was only lessee of the premises. They belonged to Mr Birdsall’s trustee, and there were no means, save by acquiring some property at the back, whereby this alteration could be made at the back because there was only one passage which had a blank wall at the western end.

The trustees did not see their way to make these alterations at the back, and therefore he was afraid so far as that requirement was concerned they would not be able to comply with it. They would comply, as soon as they could, with all the other requirements.

Under these circumstances he asked the licence for another year as his lease expired in March of next year.

He did not think that at the expiration of that time that this property would be used any longer by Mr Gibson. Mr Gibson was a considerable ratepayer and had held the licence eleven years.

Mr Gibson gave evidence in support of the application.

The chief constable (Mr H Windsor) suggested that if Mr Gibson was starting afresh he would not be satisfied with a converted shop as a cinema.

Mr Gibson: We would all like a better place.

Mr Windsor suggested that buildings which were licensed ten years ago had to be brought up to date in order to meet present requirements and Mr Gibson agreed.

Mr Hart (to Mr Gibson): Your lease expires in March, 1919?

Mr Gibson: I think so.

You don’t propose to renew it? - It is no use attempting it.

You don’t propose to renew it? - Certainly not.

Will you give an undertaking, if this licence is granted for another year you will not apply for a licence for these premises at Brewster Sessions? - Yes that is the only way to do.

After retiring the magistrates refused the application.

The magistrates’ clerk, Mr GB Black, intimated that the magistrates might consider the granting of a licence if arrangements could be made for exits through the adjoining premises - an empty shop at the present time.

Mr Hart suggested that under these circumstances the magistrates should grant Mr Gibson an occasional licence for three months, when the present licence expired on 5th April.

The magistrates clerk said the application could be next week.

With regard to the Picture House, Vernon Place, Mr Tasker Hart said Mr Quinton Gibson was prepared to carry out all the suggestions of the chief constable, but the alteration to the operating box would take some little time. The work would be done as soon as it possibly could.

The other suggestions had already been carried out.

The magistrates granted a licence for three months and intimated that in the meantime, the licence would then be renewed for the remainder of the year.

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