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.

Non-Fiction 1926 17 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


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.