The Picture Bar – Annie Holland’s Palace of Light

The Picture Bar - Annie Holland's Palace of Light

The Picture Bar at Measham is built on the final resting site of Annie Holland’s famous fairground attraction The Palace of Light.

Annie Holland toured with her Palace of Light Bioscope Cinematograph Show. Mrs Annie Holland was one of ten women who travelled a fairground cinematograph in the early 20th century. Hers was described as the biggest and brightest on the road.

The Holland family presented both the Palace of Light and Wonderland, which was travelled by Annie’s son Albert. Arthur Fay writing as Southdown in the World’s Fair in the 1930s provides an interesting account of the type of performance the exhibitors presented. In April 1912 when the news of the sinking of the Titanic broke, a Gaumont Film Company newsreel was shown of the event. To accompany the film of the disaster, the Holland family arranged a musical sketch which incorporated tunes such as Afloat on the Ocean Blue, Ship’s Bell Rings, The Sailor’s Two Step, Crash, An Iceberg, Excitement on Board, Lowering the Boats, Women and Children First, and finished with Nearer my God to Thee and Chopin’s Funeral March. The February issue of World’s Fair in 1936 includes a description of a bill used by the Holland family and provides us with a guide to the admission charges which range from 3d up to 6d. Both shows continued to travel until the outbreak of the First World War, when the Palace of Light was settled permanently at Measham by James Holland where it continued to present moving pictures whilst the permanent cinema was constructed around it.

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