The Bagnall's of Wakefield
Moorvilla, 108 Stanley Road

Stanley - Road, Aberford Road & Greenhill Road

Stanley Road, its continuation - Aberford Road and the side street - Greenhill Drive as far as I can tell, was an area which was central to the story of the Wakefield Bagnalls.

Stanley RoadMap

The Coliseum, also known as The Star and The Rex cinema

The Star Cinema

This cinema was built by William Bagnall and is mentioned in an article by Necia Potter:

About 1912 Eastmoor got it's own entertainment when William Bagnall built the Coliseum on Stanley Road just across the road from where he lived. In 1933 sound was installed and the name was changed to the Star. Eastmoor residents had there own cinema until 1959 by then its name had changed to the Rex. Since then the building has been used as a Bingo Hall, Dance Hall and is now a billiard hall. A programme for March 1957 gives forthcoming attractions like "The king and I" and "Don't Knock the Rock" with Bill Haley.

- Necia Potter

I looked closely at the posters in this photo and I think the one on the right is from "Dinky" starring Jackie Cooper. I can't identify the one on the left.

The Star Cinema

From cinema treasures:

By 1917 it was estimated that there were over 3000 cinemas across the country. And during the war Cinema played a crucial role. By 1939 the number had risen to 5000 and the cheapest seats cost sixpence.

- Cinema Treasures
Wakefield Advertiser & Gazette, 17th May 1921

Kindly brought to my attention by Dave Russ, this advertisement from Wakefield Advertiser & Gazette on 17th May 1921 shows W. Bagnall as "Sole Proprietor" and my Grandfather, J. H. Bagnall as "Manager".

"The Fatal Enchantress" was a 1919 American movie starring Kitty Gordon and Lumsden Hare.

"The Finger of Justice" was a 1919 American movie starring Crane Wilbur, Henry A. Barrows and Jane O'Rourke.

A tantalising glimpse of the cinema when it was The Rex
A tantalising glimpse of the cinema when it was The Rex
The Rex as it was in 2004
The Rex as it was in 2004

There is also more information here at: Cinema Treasures.

In Wakefield, West Yorkshire, the Coliseum Cinema opened in November 1920. It was converted to sound in early-1930, showing its first sound film, "The Broadway Melody" on 21st April 1930. In 1933 the cinema was acquired by Walter Eckart's Star Cinemas group. Following a £2,000 transformation, which included a new screen and new Kalee projectors with BTH sound, it re-opened as the Star Cinema on 4th December 1933 with Laurel & Hardy in "Fra Diavolo". In 1945 Star sold the cinema to Park Row Cinemas Ltd. for £2,000. Its name was changed to the Rex Cinema.

The Rex Cinema closed on 7 February 1959 with, rather ironically, "The Killing", starring Sterling Hayden and Coleen Gray. It became a ballroom, the Rex Rendezvous, before moving over to bingo. By December 1998, when my photograph was taken, it had become the Rex Snooker and Pool Club.

By 2012 it had become the Vegas Sports Bar, and the façade has been covered with metal cladding.

- David Simpson

1959 Press - Rex Cinema Sale- Wakefield Express - 18th Apr 1959

Rex Cinema Sale - Wakefield Express - 18th April 1959
Rex Cinema Sale - Wakefield Express - 18th April 1959

REX CINEMA SALE - The Rex Cinema in Stanley Road, Wakefield, was sold by auction by Mr H. W. Laidlaw, auctioneer and estate agent for &pond;3,000 to Wakefield grocer Mr. L. Teale, who has premises in Market Place, at the Woolpacks Hotel, Wakefield, yesterday. Mr. Teale told an "express" reporter that the future of the cinema had not yet been decided.

1976 Press - Mystery of wheel below bingo hall - Wakefield Express - jul 23rd 1976

Mystery of wheel below bingo hall - Wakefield Express - 23rd July 1976
Mystery of wheel below bingo hall - Wakefield Express - 23rd July 1976

Workmen carrying out alterations to the pavement in Stanley Road, Wakefield, unearthed a cellar beneath the old Rex Cinema - now used as a bingo hall - and in the cellar found a huge iron wheel and metal casing.

The bingo hall manager, Mr Thomad Holdgate, of Batley Road, Wakefield, said he knew the wheel was in the cellar and presumed it was from some form of steam engine originally used to run the first projectors for the cinema.

"We can get into the cellar from a manhole in the hall," he said. "I had been down there and seen this wheel, which appears to be in one piece and stands directly where the old cinema projection room used to be.

"When the workmen started work on the pavement they found the cellar unexpectedly. They have now built a new wall and filled in the hollow under the pavement. We can still reach the cellar from inside the hall."

Mr. Holdgate, who has been manager of the hall for eight years, said he believed it was converted from a dance hall to a bingo hall about 10 years ago and before that had been used as a cinema. The building is now owned by Colin Bartle and Co., the company which owns Wakefield Theatre Club.

* RB: I find it doubtful that a projection room would be in the cellar. Power supply for the projection room perhaps?

1976 Press - A mystery solved - Wakefield Express - Aug 6th 1976

A mystery solved - Wakefield Express Gas Engine Flywheel

The mystery of the wheel found beneath the former Rex Cinema has now been solved by the daughter of the cinema's builder.

The cinema was built more than 50 years ago by Mr William Bagnall, who called it the Coliseum. His daughter, Mrs Isabel Marsh, of 66, Lindale Mount, Alverthorpe, remembers working at the cash desk for the year that her father owned the cinema.

She said that the wheel belonged to an old gas engine that was used to run the projector.

Since Mrs Marsh's father sold it, the cinema has been a dance hall and is now a bingo hall.

Wonderful recollections of the area from Craig Wiltshire:

I can remember going to the REX...cinema on a Saturday with my older sister.....a couple of times this was in the early sixties. I remember going in holding her hand and getting a ticket on the right as we went in then going into what looked like a big hall? I remember watching the rascals with alfalfa etc....this was the other film ,as in those day there were two films for your money.....I remember one visit ...the main film was a film with Stewart Granger in??? I wasn't too interested in that...I was happy to watch the rascals!! And another visit was jungle book ....I think this was an old black and white version not Walt Disney's......and watching a Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan film.

As I got older and the Rex became a bingo hall I started going to the ABC Minors on a Saturday morning .....a free pass and a certificate awarded on stage when it was your birthday...and a loominess ABC tin badge!!!!That glowed for a while in the dark......magic!! My cousin-Anne Haden then Pashley (remarried /stepfather) Jennie and Peter mum and stepfather,who lived at the Rawlings yard....has more memory of certain things ,as she was allowed to do things I was restricted from, as I was a little young I had to be chaperoned . Especially after the moors mystery/murders???

When I got a little older certain places had changed ...such as the Rex becoming a bingo hall. As for the Bagnalls I played there cousin remembers house's and part of the brick works as I remember the period slightly after that ...the early 60' my cousin was older than I. I remember the changes in the late 60's and early 70's as clear as day.....My cousin however at the later stages started work and dating so missed some of the changes as her concentration was more on grown up things,as mine was still on 'how many pears could we scrimmage or Oggying (there were a few words for it) out of the butchers orchard' without him noticing and without damaging stuff....the trick was always speed! You had to be careful as the orchard was below walking/pavement level.....its hard to get you head around but pearmans ...or pearsons butchers next door to Seniors garage....was situated at the bottom of a slope! a big wooded gateway at the side of the shop slope and a driveway,that took you down to the butchers house/ bungalow, that was attached to the front shop!! to the front of the house next to the driveway was the orchard and lovely grass around the trees. The location of this now is to the left of Tesco express and the orchard was where the car park is now?? about 10 foot below was the orchard!!! If you walk around the car park now the metal railings are still there!! at the edge of the car park. These were there all those years ago....we used to sit with our legs dangling over the edge and hold on to those railings.....and were essential to hold onto to get up over and away from the orchard!!

I remember playing up Bagnall terrace riding on my cousins red tricycle ,round and round the block of house's in Bagnall terrace with the backs that faced the waste lane...I think was pipe yard??? Watching out for any grown ups that came out to use the bank/row of outside toilets...... And coming out of Bagnall terrace ...and shouting OOOYYGA!! through the open frosted glass windows at the side to the back of Prices ,where Peter and his assistant used to cut hair, at that time his father Billy Price tended to take a back seat in the running of the shop and the barbers? He lived in the house that was sandwiched between our shop Wiltshire @ 106 and the his newsagents Prices.We have found that Prices was a newer build as the house that was converted to the post office owned by Mr Thewliss, was original (as were our row) and numbered number 108? ours was 106..... and I am sure that Billy price's house in the middle was 106a!!! and was attached to the shop. It was unusual as the house was set back from the pavement and had a 4 foot high wall to the front and vending machines were in front of the wall.

Looking from the front Billy Price house was set back in the middle our shop front was about 10-12 foot from the front of the house and to the left about 3-4 foot further out was the front of Prices right on the pavement. Three paving slabs from the curb....our shop was 6 /7 slabs away from the curb. We had one vending machine that dispensed Beechnut...and then XL chewing gum (every 4 turn you gat a free turn and a free packet this was indicated by an arrow on the turning dial. At the front of Prices wall stood like guards ready to serve were 4 vending machines...two cigarette machines and to chocolate machines that dispensed Chocolate for a 'tanner' 6d (these were very soft in the summer time) there were two chocolate and two cigarette machines. The chocolate ones dispensed in one Cadbury Wafer bar, Fingers (pack of 6) ,Chocolate shortbread (packs of sis square chocolate covered biscuits), in the other Bar six. Picnic , Flake and Fry's chocolate cream in peppermint, plain and mixed fruit flavours. These were Prices machines and I can remember Peter filling them up........he eventually got rid of one of the chocolate dispensers but kept the cigarette machines saying' 'they made him money when he was closed' .This altered when our shop became an off licence!....he didn't like that at all and was always being sarcastic about the fact we had the licence and he didn't.

As kids we would ask people or rummage around in the trash!! for empty Park Drive cigarettes packets ,because if you save up 20..25 packets and sent them to the Park Drive address shown they would send you a Park Drive book of football!!!! FREE!! you just paid for the postage. It was a small but thick paperback similar size to a novel,with stories, fixtures last seasons results pictures and teams kit colours great reference book for the football I was!! I was always looking for pictures of Manchester United and my idol Georgie....Best that is number 7 then number 11.I had about 8 of these over the years all obtained by collecting old fag packets!!!!

As far as the brick works go I remember playing in the rubble as a small kid...My Cousin remembers this a bit more than I ...and some of the houses that were...I have forwarded your name to her.

- Craig Wiltshire

I still live nearby after coming to Wakefield aged 5 in 1957 to our shop 106 Stanley road, I knew the Rex as a cinema, a dance hall and a bingo hall, at that time there was a long row of houses attached and a shop on the corner, of Jacobswell lane.

I remember the Rex as a cinema, a Saturday morning mini mecca for kids with a sandwich bar and glitter ball, a bingo hall and a ballroom, THE REX RENDEZVOUS. I remember dancing under the glitter ball, spinning on the ceiling and going up the steps to the little coffee bar for a drink and a sandwich.

We waited in our shop for rhe Bingo rush, as the bus stop was just outside our shop and the crowd would belt across the road, all wanting to be served before their bus came. We were an Off licence by then, so stayed open late. Happy days!

I remember the REX being many things but when it was a ballroom it was owned, or leased, by the MORLEYS, they ended up being something to do with the MISS WORLD contests. My Grandma used to cook them both large Sunday dinners delivered across to them. She charged them 2/6d.

- Anne-Marie Mcfarlane

We recall a smallish gentleman (nick-named tuppeny) who used to keep order in the picture house. He would walk up and down the two aisles shining his torch and shout out to any offender(s)to keep quiet. It was a sign of the times that he was usually obeyed. He also checked the rear emergency exit to ensure it had not been quietly opened to let in friends without payment.

- Tony Thorp

I used to go to the Rex when it was a ballroom, learnt to dance there, took ballroom and Latin exams there, competed there and taught there, happy days.xx.

- Susan Atkinson

Saturday afternoon matinees we’re great, I went there every week after buying sweets at one of the shops at the end of Jacobs Well Lane. Happy days!!

- Michael Slack

I was taken every night for about a week to see The Jolson Story starring Larry Parks as Al Jolson. I was about 8, so maybe 1947. I also remember being taken every night to the Savoy to see Scott of the Antarctic. It was about the same time. I reckon my family were just real film buffs, but as an eight year old, not my cup of tea, preferred Musicals.

- June Aveyard

I was a manager here 27 years ago when it was the Rex Bingo my 1st Boyfriend's dad Stuart Nuttall owned it, the company was called Rowanstem. We then changed it to a snooker club because the smoking ban killed bingo. My old office was in the old projection room

The manager of the bingo for decades was Shirley McBride who hailed from Alverthorpe. The club was once robbed back in the 90's by a gang who followed Shirley home broke into her house and stole the club keys, probably 1995 or 96.

- Neil Armstrong

I remember those days! Mum used to be picked up by bus to go to the Rex ? Tues nights. She won a tv one week!

- Rose Sedgewick

What is to become of the Rex?

The Rex looks to be in a sorry state with cracks in the walls where buddleia thrives near the roof line. Shuttered up, sad and a shadow of its former self.

Over 1,200 plants were found
Wakefield Express, 30th July 2020

More recently, a gang of Albanians made use of it for growing cannabis. Cannabis farm worth over £300,000 found growing at former city centre snooker hall A sad end if that is the last use anyone had for the Rex.


The Electric Picture Palace - Southwold

It saddens me to see the decline of this once, key, community amenity. My only hope is that some wealthy and foresighted investor could buy it and restore it, sympathetically. As an example of a thriving business, the wonderful Electric Picture Palace (although not a restored cinema), is a little treasure in the coastal Suffolk Village of Southwold. Perhaps, if saved, This little Wakefield jewel could be polished and made to shine?

See also Moorvilla below.

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Moorvilla, 108 Stanley Road

Moorvilla, 108 Stanley Road
Moorvilla, 108 Stanley Road - far right of this picture

From this address list, we can see that Bagnall Terrace is listed, also Rawling's Yard.

Address list from 1911 Address page from 1911

Bagnall (we know this is William and family) is listed at 108 Stanley Road.

This piece was written by Necia Potter and features on the Commanet website:

A postcard of men working on Wakefield Cathedral spire
A postcard of men working
on Wakefield Cathedral spire

William Bagnall was a prominent builder of Eastmoor and was responsible for much of the property. He lived on Stanley Road for a period and when the Cathedral spire was repaired Mr Bagnall was asked to go up and make sure the repairs had been carried our correctly.

Moorvilla, 108 Stanley Road
Moorvilla, 108 Stanley Road

This photograph shows the Co-op on Stanley Road but the house on the extreme right was where William Bagnall lived for a period. The house front was altered just prior to the 39/45 War when Stanley V. Potter changed the bay window into a shop front for his electrical business. Although the Buildings are now pulled down the tree still stands which was in the garden of the house with bay window.

About 1912 Eastmoor got it's own entertainment when William Bagnall built the Coliseum on Stanley Road just across the road from where he lived. In 1933 sound was installed and the name was changed to the Star. Eastmoor residents had there own cinema until 1959 by then its name had changed to the Rex. Since then the building has been used as a Bingo Hall, Dance Hall and is now a billiard hall. A programme for March 1957 gives forthcoming attractions like "The king and I" and "Don't Knock the Rock" with Bill Haley.

 Stanley Road 1920
Another photo of Stanley Road from the 1920s.

Stanley Vere Potter was the son of the manager of the Empire Theatre in Kirkgate and trained as an electrician with the Tram Company. When he married Gladys Godwin they set up home at 108 Stanley Road. Stanley set up his own business building and selling radios and charging batteries. He converted the bay window into a shop front. The business had to close in 1939 when war broke out. Stanley, being a skilled electrician had to work repairing public transport.

In the Kellys Directory of 1922 in the "Wakefield Private Residents" section was listed "Bagnall William, 108 Stanley Road". This was not far away from his brother Harry at 19 Stanley Road.

- Necia Potter

Wonderful recollections from Anne-marie Mcfarlane:

Moorvilla, 108 Stanley Road
Moorvilla, 108 Stanley Road - the Post Office "C.THEWLIS & SON."
on the right of this panorama
Kind permission of Anne-marie Mcfarlane.

I always loved the old POST OFFICE, on STANLEY ROAD. It was formerly known as MOORE VILLA, and stood on the left hand edge of BAGNALL TERRACE. It's address was 108 STANLEY ROAD, and as our shop was 106, and was a ginnel and two doors away, means that PRICE'S SHOP and bungalow were new additions.

As MOORE VILLA it was lived in by the POTTER family and MR. POTTER was the one who altered the building to make it into a shop by adding a large front window, I believe it was electrical items he sold. I don't know if he retired, but I came to know them as the family who lived in the house at the back of the shop at 106, when my Granddad leased it as a lock-up shop, we still lived in ROYSTON then, and my uncle FREDDIE WILTSHIRE ran it.

Getting back to the POST OFFICE, when I came to live in our shop, in 1957, the POTTER family moved out and we lived in the house, A MR. THEWLIS had the POST OFFICE, though I think it was owned by MR. HARDWICK, who lodged with them, he also owned our shop.

Advert for "C.THEWLIS & SON.", Kindly sent by Dave Russ.

As you went in the door, after walking past Bagnall terrace entrance and the large impressive house up a large set of steps, you could smell the age of the fittings, all wood. In front of you was a large glass case full of envelopes string ,ink and other stationery items, but to the right was the case I loved, full of pen gift sets and BASILDON BOND writing sets.

From the left corner MR. THEWLIS would appear, walking down a wooden staircase with handrail and come to the long wooden counter. It was always special for me, going in there, I suppose it was because it wasn't a place you went in every day, and I always felt quite grown-up, to be allowed to go and send a parcel.

The PIECE" was the area below our house, 18 RAWLINGS YARD, opposite the "FOX AND GRAPES" it was used as a parking area by the many ballroom dancers that came to the REX, In the 60. We used to look in the back of the cars and marvel at the beautiful dresses.

- Anne-Marie Mcfarlane
A tantalising glimpse of the cinema when it was The Rex
Moorvilla can be seen on the right and
a tantalising glimpse of the cinema
when it was The Rex on the left

Exciting contribution from Dave Russ:

Dave Russ kindly contacted me this week:

Hi Richard

During a recent project I helped with, "180 years of Eastmoor: its people and their houses" the project leader Joanne Harrison provided us with some building plans obtained from the West Yorkshire History Centre in Wakefield. I have attached six plans to this email and I will attach a further six to a second email. These are the ones that are Bagnall related.

Sorry for the large file sizes (too big to attach to one email!)

If you have not seen them before, I hope they may be of some interest and use.

Best regards - Dave (Russ)

I'm pretty convinced by similarity to photographs and the streets mentioned on the plans, that these are the plans for Moorvilla.

Even more so, it has convinced me that this family photograph was taken at the rear garden of Moorvilla:

John Bagnall's Family Edith Louisa Harry John George Milton Hannah Mary Ann
John Bagnall's Family, I believe taken in the rear garden of Moorvilla. Hover for annotationTap here to show/hide annotation. Click to view large.
Moorvilla plans: Elevation and section
Moorvilla plans: Elevation and section. Click to view large.
Moorvilla plans: Cellar and Attic
Moorvilla plans: Cellar and Attic. Click to view large.
Moorvilla plans: Ground floor and 'chambers'
Moorvilla plans: Ground floor and 'chambers'. Click to view large.

Dave also supplied some interesting plans for Bagnall Street & Bagnall Terrace.

See also The Coliseum, also known as The Star and The Rex cinema on this page.

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19 Stanley Road - Harry Bagnall

19 Stanley Road
19 Stanley Road

Bagnall Harry, 19 Stanley road' listed as private resident in a trade directory for 1922.


Stanley Road

In the 1892 & 1904 Wakefield Commercial Directory is listed "Bagnall Brothers, builders, Stanley road"

Since The Butchers Arms is 79 Stanley Road, I assume it was close by, perhaps where the Stanley Car Wash is now?

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79 Stanley Road

From the 1901 census, we know that in 1901, John lived on Stanley Road, the Butchers Arms is 79 Stanley Road, so perhaps this was the house or replaced the house?.


Aberford Road - Stanley Victoria Club

On the website the writer describes Stanley Victoria Club:

Stanley Victoria Club
This is how the Stanley
Victoria Club looked in 2004

STANLEY VICTORIA CLUB, Aberford Road/Lime Pit Lane - now known as 'Grove Park' and privately owned. Originally it was an all-stone building being part of the Colliery undertaking associated with the Deep Drop Colliery owned by Messrs. R. Hudson and Company and was probably used as office accommodation and stores, It would be built in the early part of the 19th century.

I remember in the early 1930's this club having a Bowling Green which was not always in good condition due to being flooded after heavy rain. Water would settle and often, during a rainy spell, it would be unfit to play on for lengthy periods. The secretary of the club in 1922 was Alfred McDonald. At this time part of the building was used to stable horses belonging to a builder named Bagnall who also kept materials in the yard.

The Stanley
Victoria Club recently on Google Streetview

Rawling(s) Yard

Please see Rawlings Yard.

Bagnall Street

Bagnall Street Sign

Please see Bagnall Street.

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Greenhill Road

In a trade directory of 1887 in the "private residents" section is listed "Bagnall Mr Thomas, Greenhill road"


112 Stanley Road - John & Mary Ann Bagnall

In the 1881 census, John and Mary Ann are listed as living at 112 Stanley Road.

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174 Aberford Road / Ivy Bank The Grove

Tony Bagnall wrote this about Ivy Bank:

174 Aberford Road, Wakefield

I lived in 174 Aberford Rd Ivy Bank in 1979 to 1994 George Bagnall built the house aprox 1907. My father Jeffrey plus Edna and Rolland were born there as was my brother Colin and I.

I don't have the sign Bagnall Terrace the sign I have is Bagnall Street.

If I can fill in any more gaps in the history let me know.

- Tony Bagnall

Richard Barker wrote to me recently by email, he was enquiring after Bagnall Buildings:

"Quizzed an older local resident abt Bagnall Buildings he hadn't heard the name applied to a terrace of houses but informed me that a Mr Bagnall built & lived at 174 Aberford Rd (situated between 2 of the terrace blocks) & that Mr Bagnalls son later lived at this address."


Also, my cousin, Pamela Brockbank gave anecdotal evidence of 174 Aberford Road being perhaps built by a Bagnall and lived in by a Bagnall(s)

Could this then also be "Ivy Bank, The Grove" as mentioned in the following items?:


In a trade directory of 1922, George Bagnall is listed as a councillor for Outwood: "Outwood SUDC Stanley Ward George Bagnall"

George Bagnall listed in a directory as a private resident at Ivy Bank, The Grove".

1922 - 1923

George Bagnall was chairman of Stanley Urban District Council, living at Ivy Bank, The Grove, Stanley


'Bagnall Geo. Bldr. Ivybank, The Grove' listed in directory.

George Bagnall listed in directory as member of the Council in Outwood for the Stanley Ward.


'Bagnall Geo. bldr. Ivybank, The Grove' listed in commercial directory.

Rowland W Bagnall listed as a private resident at Ivybank, The Grove in directory.