ONLY six people were in the audience to see the last film shown at Stroud’s Mecca cinema.

Forty years after the cinema closed, SNJ reporter Saul Cooke-Black looks back at the history of the building which is now home to the Warehouse Nightclub.

Hundreds used to pack into the Gaumont Palace cinema after it was opened in August 1935, replacing the Palace Cinema which was demolished earlier that year.

With 994 seats, the low, flat ceilinged auditorium was built by the Albany Ward section of the Gaumont British company. It was renamed Odeon in 1962, before being taken over by Classic Cinemas in 1967.

Mecca took over the building in January 1974 but with dwindling audiences Stroud’s only remaining cinema at the time closed at the end of 1976.

An audience of six saw the last showing of Walt Disney’s The Lady and the Tramp on New Year’s Eve.

Two of the audience had travelled specially to Stroud as their hobby was attending last nights at closing cinemas – one had come from London and one from Cheltenham.

A special presentation was made to projectionist Alun Rees who had worked at the cinema for many years.

Staff presented him with a new cigarette lighter – the latest gadget of the day.