Group 2 Blog Post Week 9

Today’s Blog Task Group 2

“The cinema suffered bomb damage from the air raid on 4 May 1942, which closed it until temporary repairs could be made. The opposite side of Sidwell Street was totally destroyed. The Odeon was lucky to survive as Sylvia Hart remembers ‘Exeter was not Exeter anymore. You could stand by the Guildhall and see the Odeon Cinema.’ This was a distance of almost ¾ of a mile of devastated High Street and Sidwell Street. The cinema was not fully repaired until 1954. The steps in the front entrance of the cinema still show damage from a bomb blast that scattered shrapnel across Sidwell Street.”

Cinema going was not only vital for lifting spirits during World War II, it also did work supporting the troops. The Odeon in Exeter was known for putting on talent shows for locals and servicemen. It would entertain the wounded and those home from the war every Saturday with no payment needed, to keep morale going. Training footage would also be played at the Odeon, which not only acted as propaganda, but also aided the training of soldiers under Devon’s Home Guard. This kind of work, acting as more than just a cinema could have played an important role for the people of Exeter who just needed a morale boost in such difficult times. – Lucy

This source highlights how dangerous cinema going during world war two was. The fact that there was just a “3/4 of a mile” distance from devastating bombing occurring on the high streets emphasises this danger. For instance, East Grinstead in Sussex was bombed in 1943. Here a total of 103 people died, many of those who were children watching a matinee performance of Hopalong Cassidy at the Grinstead’s Whitehall Cinema in London Road. Many cinema closures were in fact prompted by this fear of bombing, since they were usually located in city centres making them prime targets for bombing raids. Thus, this source perhaps reflects the pressure to close cinemas due to fear of bombing. – Susannah

This extract tells me that the bomb colliding with the cinema was a fairly traumatic thing for the public to go through, adding on to the trauma of the war that was going on at the time. The cinema was used as way to allow the public to escape the reality of the war and be able to relax themselves. Even though the cinema was located near many bombing occurrences, it didn’t stop people from going to see movies and training videos when cinema was open. As a sense of reality escape, thousands of people would turn up to the cinema weekly. After the bombs collided with the cinema, I believe that the public would’ve lost that sense of escaping reality as they could no longer go to see films. – Tom

The extract that we have chosen, tells us that the bombing of the cinema hit the members of the public and people of Exeter tragically as Odeon was a big part of the city. Odeon was a big part of the city as it wasn’t only a place where you would go to watch films but during the war it would support the troops by hosting talent shows for its locals and servicemen and where they would entertain twenty wounded service men every Saturday. This just allowed the people to escape reality for a while and enter a relaxing and stress-free zone without thinking about the war. The bombing of the cinema resulted with a lot of damage as they were located within the city centre and other bombing incidents. – Adelina


One thought on “Group 2 Blog Post Week 9

  1. Lucy, Susannah, Tom, Adelina:

    Overall this is a very solid post that responds well to the task at hand.You demonstrate cognisance of context, of local history and of the key role that cinemas played throughout the war both in Exeter and the UK at large. You also supplement this with additional research: the fact that 103 people died during a cinema screening is especially grim, but provides us with very clear evidence of the perils that war-time cinema-going entailed. Additionally and importantly, the piece is clearly written. A few things: you could be clearer in specifically citing and referring to the source that you use. Additionally, some images would help to enhance your presentation. Finally, while it is good to see that four of you contributed as individuals to the task, there is some repetition from section to section and therefore the piece could cohere better. Good job overall.

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