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Alhambra Cinema prepares for 100th anniversary

The Alhambra Cinema in Keswick is 100 years old.

There are centenary celebrations this week when the cinema is showing some if the greatest films of all time.

Tom Rennie saved the independent cinema from closure:

"The money I get as the operator and owner I would be paid as the manager, but I open up, sell the tickets and the sweets, put the film on and sweep up at the end."

"We have seven part-time members of staff that help and give me a night off, but the arrival of digital films has allowed it to become a one-man business.

"I have written a 'how-to' book on how to run a cinema as a one-man operation."

While locals appreciate the cinema, it would have closed years ago without the custom of the thousands of tourists who visit the town every year.

It is also the focus of Keswick Film Club festival in February.

"The Alhambra is a tourist attraction.

"Some 85 per cent of our custom is tourists.

"For the locals, it was there long before they were born and it will be there long after they die, but there's no need to go there.

"If there was a threat of closure there would be an outcry, but if you are home on a wet night in front of the fire with a good programme on the TV, you don't want to go out."

The Alhambra will mark its anniversary by screening an interview with Nick Simpson, whose father Jack ran the cinema during the 50s and 60s.

This will be followed by the film The Clouded Yellow - much of it was filmed in the Lakes.

Tom has written to Helen Mirren hoping for a special message.

"You expect to get a card from the Queen when you reach 100, so we're trying to get a telegram from Helen Mirren, aka the Queen, we thought it would be quite appropriate!"

– Tom

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