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18-20 Suffolk Parade (formerly St James's Lodge)
The present Daffodil restaurant occupies the site of St James's Lodge, a detached house built before 1841, when a surgeon called Charles Salt and his wife Margaret were in residence. The property was probably rented out and the names of the tenants changed often. By 1882 the residents were clergymen and trades people and this was a lodging house kept by Mr James Lediard, who had previously been a coachman.
As the 19th century progressed the character of Suffolk Parade became more commercial. With the renumbering of the street in 1892/93, St James's Lodge became numbers 18 & 19 Suffolk Parade, indicating that it had already been subdivided. The left hand premises (18) were occupied by Archie Bendall's Sports Outfitter shop, whilst that on the right (19) was a sadler's shop belonging to Edward Acock.
In about 1894 Mr Acock relocated his business to Great Norwood Street and number 19 was taken over by Mr J. Barrett, a greengrocer and florist with nurseries in Leckhampton.
By 1910 J.Barrett & Son had expanded to occupy both 18 and 19 Suffolk Parade, creating a double fronted shop, which they leased from Frederick Sims, who owned the baker's next door at 16 & 17 Suffolk Parade. The Sims family had acquired ownership of all of the properties from 16 to 22 Suffolk Parade by 1920 and it seems evident that they had an ambitious plan for the area.
Indeed, in 1922 they demolished all of the properties at 18-21 Suffolk Parade, replacing them with the Daffodil Picture House, with Frederick Sims as one of the company directors. This was Cheltenham's first purpose-built cinema, with 750 seats, and it opened on 5th October 1922. At first the films were silent but in 1930 a sound system was installed. The cinema was a great success and went on to host the first meeting of the Cheltenham Film Society in 1945.
Cinema attendance fell away with the advent of television in the 1950s and The Daffodil finally closed on 7th September 1963, due to dwindling customers. Continuing as a place of public entertainment, it almost immediately reopened as a bingo hall. In 1977 this in turn closed and the building became an antique furniture store called Cameron Antiques, until 1989, after which the property was empty for a while. In 1996 Cheltenham restaurateur Mark Stephens purchased and restored the building, retaining many fine Art Deco features. It reopened as The Daffodil restaurant on 14th February 1998.
Researcher: Stuart Manton (May 2015)
The first film to be shown at the cinema was 'Thunderclap', a silent film made in 1921 by the Fox Film Corporation, starring J. Barney Sherry, Violet Mersereau, Paul Willis and Mary Carr.
The makers of this picture culled just about every trick from all the famous melodramas of yore -- Drury Lane never had it so good (or bad!). Gambler Lionel Jamieson (J. Barney Sherry) is about as villainous as they come -he even uses his own daughter, Betty (Violet Mersereau), to attract suckers to his table.
However, one of the workers there, Tommy (Paul Willis), is an honest young chap who really loves Betty. He also has a horse, Thunderclap, who he plans to enter in a race. Jamieson plots to bring about the horse's demise. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out that the horse escapes harm and wins its race. In addition, Tommy saves Betty from a gang of Chinamen who, for some nefarious reason or another, have kidnapped her.
Jamieson ends as villains in melodramas often do -- he's killed, shot in the back. And the incredible plot twists aren't done yet -- Jamieson's wife (Mary Carr), who has been confined to a wheelchair for most of the film, is shocked into recovery by his death. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi
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