A month to save classic cinema
The owner of the sole-surviving Bedford mobile cinema is planning to restore its recently discovered trailer – but has just a month to raise the funds.
Ben Moorhouse discovered the trailer that originally accompanied his 1967 SB-based vehicle – nicknamed ‘Audrey’ rotting away on a farm. It’s the first time that any of the trailers have been seen since the late 1970s.
He’s now launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise the £80,000 needed to restore it, and has been given until 4pm on 26 August by the Crowdfunder website to hit the target.
Ben says: ‘The plan is to restore the exterior to exactly how it would’ve been in 1967, but the inside will use a mixture of period design and modern technology, much like the cinema itself. It’s a very exciting challenge, and I’ve sourced some of the very best suppliers to make sure this restoration is a huge success.’
The Bedford cinema – which was discovered in 2005 and has made numerous event and TV appearances since its restoration – was one of seven used by the Ministry of Technology to promote production techniques to the nation’s engineering firms. When the vehicles were decommissioned in 1974, Lord McAlpine bought KJU 267E to help promote the return of the Flying Scotsman to the UK, but after that it was separated from the trailer.
Ben explains: ‘Lord McAlpine recalls how he donated it to a project manager of his who was working on a construction site at the time, where it was used as an office, but after that the trail goes cold.
‘Out of the blue I had a phone call in 2015, and following a short trip down to Sussex one of the trailers had indeed been found.
‘A quick look at the back confirmed that the registration number was the same as Audrey’s – what were the chances?’
Bedford-based mobile cinema was one of seven built for the Ministry of Technology in the late 1960s, all of which were had matching trailers.