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Borrowing Discovery Boxes

These contain several items which children may handle (unless otherwise stated). Their contents are restricted to items which are duplicates of items in the museums collection, safe to handle and small enough to keep in the pack...Read More

Educational Resources

As you all know by now, my name is Medwyn and I am an historical mole detective. Some moles dig for worms, I dig through time solving crimes as I go, using the computer in my goggles to help me.

As any decent time traveller knows, you can't just wander back into the past knowing nothing of the time you're going to. It is here, in Ceredigion Museum, that I gather a lot of my information. So if you're ever fortunate enough to get offered a job as a time travelling detective like me, then you'll know exactly what to do – start by visiting your local museum.

Here are some things I've found out about Ceredigion Museum.


Did you know that Ceredigion Museum used to be a cinema called the Coliseum? There were once 3 other cinemas in Aberystwyth as well as the Coliseum.

1. Cheethams/Palladium, (Market St), opened 1911, rebuilt 1923, destroyed by fire 1934

2. Pier Pavilion, opened 1912 damaged by fire and closed 1961

3. Imperial/Forum/Celtic, (Bath St), opened 1922, reopened 1932, closed 1976.


Did you know that before 1920 the most expensive seats in the Coliseum were 2 shillings (10p)?


  • 2 shillings (10p)


  • 2 shillings and 4 pence (12p)

1932 - 42

  • 1shilling and 3 pence (6p)


  • 2 shillings and 3 pence (11p)


  • 3 shillings and 6 pence (17.5p)


  • 4 shillings (20p)

How much do you pay to go to the cinema today?


Did you know that the Coliseum was open on every day of the year except Sundays from 1932 until 1955 when it began to close on Christmas days. From 1969 it closed for a week or more in September for staff holidays but otherwise closed only three times because the film did not arrive, and twice because of the power cuts in 1972.



       The builders
  • A hall was built by Mr David Phillips (1860 - 1911) where the Coliseum now stands. He was a stone mason who also hired out horses and vehicles and built a public hall over his stables It was used for concerts, summer season variety shows, Eisteddfodau, pantomimes and concerts.


  • The public hall wasn’t used so much as a theatre but mainly for auctions.


  • The public hall was constructed of wood and was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Boxing Day, 1902.

1904 - 5

  • Rebuilt and opened as the Coliseum Theatre where it was the venue for at least 5, 000 events including 760 plays, early films, Eisteddfodau, amateur productions, political meetings and concerts.


  • For the opening night special trains on both the local railways had been organised to bring and return the 'country' people.


  • Miss Minni Letta's London Vaudeville Co. came to the Coliseum This was a concert type entertainment with singing and dancing but also included a bioscope which was an early type of movie film.


  • Lloyd George spoke on the Welsh National Campaign.


  • Mrs Pankhurst spoke here twice.


  • The Church Disestablishment Bill was debated on the 26th May when students prevented some of the 5, 000 demonstrators from entering the building.

1914 -18

  • During the First World War news reels of the Front were shown but most were short and silent.


  • Mr Asquith spoke at an Aberystwyth Liberal meeting.


  • The first Talkies arrived in Aberystwyth.

1928 - 29

  • A professional company became resident in Aberystwyth from September to November. They performed two plays a week.


  • Mr Harold Gale and his wife Olive took over the lease of the Coliseum and reopened it as a cinema on 11th February.


  • Harold Gale improved the heating, ventilation and the seats and installed the latest machine for talkies. He said, 'we can say without fear of contradiction that there is no bigger or better show given in Great Britain'. His motto was 'Amusement without Vulgarity'.


  • In June the film Yr Ymgyrch (The Crusade) was shown for the week from 3rd with the Count of Monte Cristo. This was billed as the first 'talkie' in Welsh.


  • Harold Gale died after a long illness.


  • Live shows performed between films came to an end.

1940 - 41

  • Ardwyn Eisteddfodau.


  • The Coliseum no longer open on Christmas days.


  • Normally films were shown for three successive days and changed on Thursdays. Some more popular films were shown for a full week.


  • The Coliseum closes. Olive Gale and her son Peter had run the Coliseum since the death of Harold.


  • The Coliseum opened as a Museum for the District of Ceredigion.


Other Museum Sites

  • Tregaron Kite Centre and MuseumTregaron Kite Centre and MuseumThere is a reconstructed Victorian school room in the old church school at the Kite Centre in Tregaron. It includes pupils' desks; a teacher's desk; blackboard; slates and slate pencils...more
  • Llanon cottageLlanon cottageIn the village of Llanon there are ruins known as Neuadd (hall) which was probably an important Tudor building and nearby is one of the last surviving cottages in West...more
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