Cinematographe Salon

The Cinematographe Salon was an early cinema which operated on High Street in November 1896.

As part of Carnival Week, starting on 7 November 1896, Joseph Francis Macmahon exhibited his ‘living pictures’ at a ‘cinematographe salon’ on High Street opposite the Triangle. The films were shown from 7pm and commenced every half an hour.

The films shown consisted of a variety of themes, including a train entering Waterloo Station, women fencing, a barber’s shop, the burning of Joan of Arc, the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, and an Egyptian dance. However due to the small size of the building and the use of a wide angled lens, the films were not shown in the best quality.

At the conclusion of carnival week Macmahon proceeded to other venues in the South Island, including Oamaru and Timaru. He returned to Christchurch in late December with the intention of showing his films in a more appropriate venue.