The Bailiff’s decision to close the Alhambra and restrict the opening hours of St Helier’s remaining picture houses came under challenge this week. A petition against these changes, created by ‘Ratepayers, Inhabitants of the Island and Members of His Majesty’s Forces', has been compiled and submitted to the Bailiff and Lieutenant Governor.
The decision to restrict opening hours followed concerns among some senior politicians and church leaders that the kind of entertainment provided by the Alhambra, the Opera House and Wests was unwarranted in wartime. Given the suffering and sacrifices of our soldiers and sailors, they argued, there was something immoral about people in Jersey enjoying themselves in picture houses.
The counter-argument, led by the newspapers and supported by several politicians, was that ordinary people need the entertainment offered by picture houses as escapism from wartime stresses.
Having considered the petition, Sir William Vernon has decided to partly reverse his decision forbidding matinee performances. As a result, the Opera House and Wests will be allowed one show on Saturdays. The decision to close the Alhambra remains, however – more than two pictures houses in town seems totally unnecessary at the present time.