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Last Updated: Monday, 22 October 2007, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Curtain falls on 23-seat cinema
The British Film Institute recognised La Charrette as the smallest cinema in Wales

The final credits have rolled at a 23-seat cinema housed in an old railway carriage that has been entertaining film lovers for more than 50 years.

La Charrette, which stands in the back garden of a house in Gorseinon, near Swansea, was once officially recognised as the smallest cinema in Wales.

But wear and tear means it has become too costly to maintain.

The last screening - Ocean's 13 - was followed by a compilation of clips from films shown over the last 54 years.

The cinema was founded by electrician Gwyn Phillips, who fell in love with the silver screen while working in local cinemas as a teenager.

Ageing membership

He built La Charrette in his back garden and invited family and friends to screenings.

Although he died in 1996, his family continued to allow the 70-strong members to screen films there, and seven years ago Lottery funding helped pay for a new video projection system and Dolby surround sound.

The chairman of the club, Ron Williams, has been visiting the cinema for the last 47 years.

He said he was "extremely sad" to watch his final film there as many members had also become close friends.

The 23-cinema
The 23-seat cinema boasted widescreen and surround sound

"The cinema has outlasted many of its commercial rivals," he added.

"Now sadly, because of structural problems with the building and an ageing membership, the committee and manager of the club have decided to call it a day.

"A survey has revealed that it is no longer economically viable to maintain the building - which will be demolished in the near future."

Shortly after Mr Phillips died, the British Film Institute recognised La Charrette as the smallest cinema in Wales.

Over the years it has shown classics such as Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music to recent releases such as The Queen and Wild Hogs.

SEE ALSO
Half-century for half-pint cinema
02 Oct 03 |  South West Wales



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