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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


"Slaters Cinema"

Burrin Street


The Cinema House
(aka Slaters Cinema)
Burrin Street Fire's!

Early on Tuesday, 27th December 1937 the electric fire siren summoned the reformed Fire Brigade. A building in Burrin Street was on fire. When it was discovered that there was not enough hose, more hose had to be borrowed from the Sugar Factory, thus the adjoining garage and Mill and Bridewell Lane were saved.

The burning building was the cinema which was erected in 1913 by the firm of Fred Thompson on the site of the 1906 great fire of Boakes Drapery shop. In 1931 the cinema was acquired by my grandmother's brother, Frank Slater. He refurbished the cinema and claimed it was the most up-to-date cinema in Ireland. The last film screened contained a forest fire scene, some locals believed this had caused the fire. In fact the fire had been started deliberately by a former employee.

Unfortunately for the Slater family the building was not insured. In later years local publicans would recall that business was very brisk on the morning of the fire as firemen from all over the country and people living in the locality came knocking on the pub doors seeking some respite from the event. Jimmy Kelly remembered that it was lucky the publicans had bought in large stocks of drink for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, "there was not a drop left in stock the following day". Jimmy would recall.

Post Office Source: Old Carlow Society website In 1967 Carlow's "new post office" was erected on this site. Pictures of the cinema and the aftermath of Boake's fire are on pages 52 and 53 in "Carlow in old picture postcards" published in 1994 and page 63 on the second volume of same title, published in 1999.


This very special photo was given to me (Michael Purcell) by Godfrey R McDonald of Dublin Street. Godfrey recognized the importance of the photo when he studied picture number 52 in my Volume 1 of Carlow in old picture postcards' by Michael Purcell. The picture was photographed from alongside the Deighton Hall on Tuesday, 7th October 1906 following the Burrin Street fire. Members of the volunteer fire brigade Dick Rogers and Pat O'Toole stand centre picture with shovels in hand; also looking towards the camera is the man who it is thought deliberately started the fire. Note the fire hose box to the right. Carlow post office stands on the site today.

This is the site of Carlow Post Office today..


Early on Monday, 6th October 1906 the church bells of St. Mary's summoned the Volunteer Fire Brigade. Boake's Wollen Hall and Misses Bayley's stationery shop in Burrin Street were on fire. When it was discovered that there was no water in the hydrants, the brigade pump was connected to the river Burrin, thus, Slater's chemist, Kelly's Mill and Bridewell Lane were saved. In this photo a lady passes by the hoarding erected at the site which was smouldering for six days. No. 69 is Dr. Slater's, he dispensed 'cures' claiming he added, 'aqua pura', from a spring in his yard to all his medicines, he tasted every prescription and as a result his tongue had shrivelled. In 1906 his apprentice Charlie Johnson ran the chemist business. No. 68 is what remains of Misses Bayley's, the large building Kelly's Mill was adjacent to the river Burrin. As a result of the fire all the buildings pictured above were demolished. In 1914 a cinema and a garage were erected on this site.


Slaters Cinema House on Burrin Street c1915.

Built by Fred Thompson around 1915. Unfortunately this cinema was burnt to the ground. The site is now occupied by the Post Office.

Source: Mrs Annie Parker-Byrne CARLOVIANA 2005

The film showing at the time this photo was taken was "The Mystery of the Seven Chests" Made in 1914 
Directed by E.A. Martin and starring Edwin Wallock Adda Gleason ... Rose Lillie Hayward ... Cleo (as Lillian Hayward) William Stowell, Cecil Holland, William Hutchinson (as William P. Hutchinson)

Source: IMDb database


The Cinema in Carlow c1915 - Newspaper article.

"We are pleased to note the continued and well-deserved success of the Burrin Street Cinema House and congratulate all concerned - and incidentally the efficient manager, Mr Hayward - on the programmes submitted and the excellent carrying out of the arrangements. Last weeks films were particularly attractive, and the pictures to be shown next week will, we understand, be of exceptional interest to lovers of the Cinema."

Courtesy of Carloman

Portion of Burrin Street - on the right Foyle's library sign marks the entrance to O'Neill's newsagents, next door is Watchorn's fruit and vegetable shop. Left of the picture we see Gillespie's shop having extended their premises to incorporate Gaffney's shop, the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (I.T.G.WU.) headquarters is next door, the next two shops are Quinn's grocery, provision and confectionery shop. The open space seen on the left is where the new post office would be built.


Films of the Week.

Saturday, 20th. August 1932

Sunday's  programme is unusually attractive, the  first item billed being "Lost Men.'' A fiercely relentless searchlight on the real Underworld, and a tribute to the police. Mary Brian. Noah Beery, Leo Carillo and Russell Gleason are the outstanding artistes. This big drama will be followed by one of the best comedies I have seen this season, entitled ''The Unexpected Father,” with Slim Summerville in the name role, and Zasu Pitts leading lady This is a mad melange of merry-making quips and side-splitting action. Imagine a bachelor on the eve of marriage being "adopted” as a father by a tiny tot of three years. The complications which arise are the most laugh-provoking one could imagine. The bachelor's butler is also particularly good. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the great German actor and producer, Erich von Stroheim, may be seen in "The Lost Squadron.'' a marvellous story of man's endurance in the face of terrible odds. The chief film for the other three days is "Surrender," a romantic tale with Warner Baxter and Leila Hyams as leaders. This is a war picture that never gets within 500 miles of the Front; a love story between a French prisoner and the daughter of a Prussian aristocrat, that rings true, thanks to the flawless performance of all the actors. Further details are given in our advertising columns.

Source: Nationalist & Leinster Times 1932


Source: The images on this page were previously appeared in Carlow in old postcards Vol. 2 / Vol. 3 & Carlow in Old Picture Postcards by Michael Purcell. (1994/99 & 2000)


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