These houses were built in the 1790s before John
Edye Manning created the Lawn in the early 1800s, in 1810 a flood
demolished some bridges and also the house adjacent to the Brook which
had to be rebuilt. “It had just been made ready for habitation and was
filled with handsome furniture and an elegant library”.
The parallel roads on either side of the Lawn appear to have been
planned to frame the rectangular plot and, to complete the frame, houses
were built across one end and called Cross Park. All the houses in what
is now Lawn Terrace have Georgian proportions and stuccoed facades and
their roofs hidden behind parapets.
The doctors of the town had a preference for living in this central
position as their houses also contained their surgeries before the first
health centre was built.
The Scala House at the end of Lawn Terrace next to the Library became
the Scala Cinema. Charlie Payne was the manager for many years and is
fondly remembered. He had been projectionist at the old Palace Cinema in
“There were curved steps at the entrance and a round ticket office. If
it wasn’t too busy, Charlie would see you in, take your money and show
you to your seat.
Many people went twice a week because there was a change of programme on
a Wednesday. There were never many people there in the afternoon,
perhaps only three or four. When the commercials were on, Charlie would
take orders for tea, make it and bring it round to you. He wore a suit
and tie during the day and a dress suit and dickie bow in the evenings.
The Saturday matinee was showed films for children. If the children got
too excited and stamped their feet, Charlie would come down and threaten
to throw out anybody who wasn’t behaving. ”
The Scala closed in 1962.