The North East Film Archive is one of a network of regional film archives established to collect, preserve and show film made in, or about the North East of England. Our collections are non-fiction, and date from the early 1900s to the present day, providing a rich record of life in the region over the 20th century. Many of our films are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
Wedding Bells at Houghton-le-Spring
For richer for poorer - curious crowds mob three local celebrity weddings in Houghton-le-Spring in the 1920s.
From the collection of:
The presence of a movie camera excites the crowds jostling for a place in the picture at three celebrity weddings in the mining town of Houghton-le-Spring in the 1920s. The first event took place soon after the General Strike, with coal mines still closed until November 1926. These unique local topical films probably screened at the Coliseum cinema on Newbottle Street, co-owned by well-known Houghton entrepreneur John Jack Lishman, also father of the stylish brides.
The Houghton entrepreneur John Lishman was the first tradesman in Houghton to light his business with electricity, which, according to the Sunderland Echo in 1960, caused quite a stir in the township at night. Cashing in on the popularity of picture houses and an expanding local population, Lishman and partner Norman Robinson opened the third cinema in town on 3rd August 1921, the purpose-built, modern Coliseum, (Coli for short) designed by Newcastle architects Percy L. Browne and Glover. His empire expanded with the opening on 21st April 1930 of the art deco Grand, built on the site of the Old Gaiety Theatre, and finally closed in 1975.