Thomas Musgrove is my uncle – my mum’s brother. His parents are Fred Ainsworth Stowell Musgrove and Florrie Musgrove.
During WW2 Tommy was a Stoker in the Royal Navy.
While home on leave in February 1942 he wrote to the local paper, the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times about Sunday opening of cinema’s. His letter was published on 13 February 1942.
Sir – I would like to make a suggestion regarding Sunday Cinemas. Being a member of the Forces, I am able to fully appreciate the enjoyment derived by attending a cinema performance, or any other form of entertainment on a Sunday evening. Regarding the letter by “Interested,” in your issue dated January 30th, he stated that if only one percent were saved the necessity of occasional visits to “the local,” the proposal was justified. I am in complete agreement with him on that.
We will now take for an example a young man, a teetotaller, called upon for service with the Forces, being stationed shall we say in the Clitheroe district. Being allowed to go “ashore” (as we say in the Navy), his first thoughts would be to find some form of entertainment, whereby he could occupy his few brief hours away from the hum-drum routine of the Forces. Meeting some of his friends, they would inform him that there were no cinemas open, and the young man would find himself wondering how he would spend his few precious hours. “As you know, there is no pleasure to be derived walking the streets in the black-out, whether it be wet or fine.” Meanwhile, his friends, who perchance like a drink, finally by a great amount of persuasion might induce him to “come and try one”; no doubt, feeling a bit down in the dumps, he might fall in with their suggestion. This can be used as an example of driving a man to drink. As being “ashore” say on the next Sunday, no doubt he would spend his evening by another visit to the “local.” If cinemas or any other places had been open the young man would not have fallen to the temptation.
That is one side to the question. Now we will deal with the public side. There are many men and women working on jobs of national importance. As most of these Government workshops are working on “full time,” a number of people are working whilst the majority of Clitheroe people are asleep. Working on the “night shift” for a week, Sunday may become their rest day before taking over a different shift. Working through the night necessitates the greater part of the day, after which they are back again at work. After six days of night work, it would be a great boon to these people to be able to go to some form of entertainment on a Sunday evening.
The managers of the three cinemas state that in their opinion the present catering for six days of the week, for the present population involved, appears adequate. Maybe they are right, and maybe they are not. Now, if we should say that each cinemas took it in turn to open on a Sunday evening, I am sure that the operators and attendants would have no objection to sacrificing one Sunday night in three, when around them so many great sacrifices are being made.
I am sure that if this suggestion was given a trial it would prove a success. So let us hope some sort of provision will be made. Meanwhile everyone can still pursue their religious activities and find time as for enjoyment.
It seems as though the issue of opening cinemas on a Sunday was quite contentious with strong views expressed on both sides of the argument. The Clitheroe Town Council debated a request from Military Authorities to open cinemas on a Sunday as a temporary measure under wartime regulations. At their meeting on Tuesday 16 December 1941 the Town Council approved a motion supporting Sunday opening by 8 votes to 6.
In the same edition of the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times that uncle Tommy had his letter published, there was a brief article saying that “Both Houses of Parliament have now approved the Order permitting the Sunday opening of cinemas in Clitheroe. It now remains for an application on the subject to be made to the local Justices. Presumably such an application would have to be made by the cinema proprietors”.
Although I haven’t been able to find out when cinemas began opening on a Sunday there are certainly adverts in the local paper for Sunday shows in late 1944.