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As a youngster, growing up in late 1940s Shotton, like many before me, I considered a trip to the town's high-street cinema, the Alhambra, to be an entertainment high-light.

But Deeside kids and their parents didn't pack the Alhambra soley to see Saturday Roy Rogers and Flash Gordon or the latest Ealing or Hollywood offerings. Every year, just for a week or so around the Festive Season, the projectors stopped whirring and the spotlights beamed down-stage as the curtain went-up to reveal the elaborate, freshly-painted sets that were the back-drop for the latest run of Shotton's very own, live, Pantomime!

So, when fellow local-history enthusiast, Jean Cole told me she had rediscovered a bundle of news-cuttings and photographs of long-gone Shotton whilst sorting her family memorabilia, I was intrigued! Jean’s “find” was a treasure trove of previously unseen images from the early days of panto production at the Alhambra. Here was a collection of well-preserved and beautifully arranged photographs and montages of the live shows that would have captivated Deeside’s between-war years audiences. All the usual-suspects were there! From images of the inevitable, "he's-behind-you" "baddies", to outrageous "dames", Principal Boys, speciality acts -and rows of chorus girls. All were to be seen as they would have appeared on stage in 1930s Shotton, in the form of a neatly packaged, hand-crafted album. The work had been created with care and artistic flair by the illustrious Jack Evans -in the day, a well regarded stage-performer and local theatrical impressario.

Jack’s endeavours, have now been reproduced as a handy “flip-book”. This enables theatre-lovers and local-history enthusiasts to gain a remarkable insight on those long-gone days. Click on the link on this site to take a journey through pages that document something of the lighter-side of a busy, North Wales industrial community. A community that, in an era before televison and out-of-town shopping, for a short time each year, was treated to a world of home-spun, show-biz glitz and laughter at the Alhambra, Shotton.

John Butler March 2024

It is planned that the ORIGINAL (and very fragile!) of Jack's multi-page album will made available for curation and academic scrutiny, to the National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth)

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