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Film Exhibition Facilities, Air Ministry

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 3 March 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will indicate the reason for the provision of a new cinema theatre at the Air Ministry; what is the estimated cost, including furnishing; and to what purpose will the existing premises be put?

Facilities are required in the Air Ministry for the exhibition of operational and other technical films to staff officers who must see, examine and discuss them in connection with their official duties. Up till now, films have been shown under improvised conditions which had a considerable risk of fire. This old accommodation can and will be used for other official purposes, as has hitherto been the case. I am informed by my Noble Friend the Minister of Works that the estimated cost of the facilities now being provided is £4,320.

Are we to take it from that answer that it is considered that such facilities are necessary now, but were not required before?

This film exhibition place is now required for showing many films of a highly secret nature, their exhibition often being followed by secret discussions. The standard of furnishing is very modest. There are only 16 ordinary theatre tip-up plush seats, which were recovered from a blitzed cinema, and a few cane-seated chairs.

On the question of fire precautions, are precautions taken to see that the films used are not inflammable?

They are not always non-inflammable. There has been a considerable fire risk.