Sunday 30 September 2012


The corner of  Wheelock Street and Southway as it was in the early 1970s when the  Alhambra,in common with so many  former cinemas at that time, was a part of the blossoming craze for bingo.
Like the cinema before it, this new incarnation of the Alhambra was very popular, with patrons being bussed in from as far afield as Stoke-On-Trent to take part in games.
At this time the building had not been radically altered for its new role and rumours abounded that the projection equipment had been left in place and could be brought back into use if required.
The projection room was situated high above the entrance, behind the middle window, and there is a local legend that one of the projectionists carried on a courtship with his girlfriend who lived above the chemist's shop on the other side of the street.
The entrance lobby was later altered to become an amusement arcade and a section of the upper part of the building became a snooker club.
Next door is  James Vernon and Sons' furniture shop,now home to  Drinks and Bites at No 35, and, on the other side of Southway, is the off-licence which later became part  of Bargain Booze before closing in 2013 and re-opening once more as an independent off-licence. At the time of the photograph it was, as can be seen, extolling the virtues of Watney's Pale Ale.
In the intervening years the bottom end of Southway (the former 'Tannery Alley') has developed from a mere access road to the flats above Vernon's shop, and the rear of the Alhambra, into a pedestrian walkway with  hairdressers and flower shops and the Wheelock Street entrance to what is now Tesco's main Middlewich supermarket.

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