IN its heyday Bolton was home to no less than 22 cinemas as ‘going to the pictures’ became one of the most popular ways to relax.

Now the town has seen a resurgence in cinemagoing and it boasts some of the country’s finest state-of-the-art cinemas.

Here we take a trip back into the archives to look at cinemas in days gone by.

The first ‘wide’ cinema screen arrived in 1953 and was installed at the Palladium on Higher Bridge Street (left). It’s unlikely current health and safety regulations would have allowed the photograph to have been taken!

Far left is a picture of the Ritz in Farnworth - the last cinema to close in the town - which started life as a music hall before becoming a picture house in the 1930s.

The photograph bottom left shows that promoting a new movie is nothing new. Taken in 1926 it shows ‘Tiny’ the dinosaur outside the Palladium in Bolton to mark the screening of The Lost World. The silent sy adventure based on a story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the first movies to use stoop motion animation, a technique which was later used in King Kong.

The staff of the Rialto Cinema on St George’s Road gathering together for a group photograph (below) when the cinema opened in 1922. Previously Bolton Temperance Hall, the cinema became a bingo hall and later revereted back to becoming a cinema before it closed in 1982.

Workers are shown putting the finishing touches to the Tivoli Cinema in Derby Street (bottom right) in 1938. The large cinema could accommodate more that 1,000 cinemagoers.

Pictured right is Stanley Abbott who was in charge of maintenance at the Odeon Cinema working on one of the projectors in 1981.

And (far right) Denis Main, a projectionist at Studio 1 and 2 is pictured setting up the reels for a screening of Saturday Night Fever in 1978.