Having specialised in the renovation of listed buildings for over 30 years, Shropshire Homes have discovered many relics of the past. And now a recent find at the former Shelton Hospital in Shrewsbury is causing quite a stir in the film and cinema community - a pair of Gaumont Kalee GK18 projectors dating back to 1948, which had been used to screen films at the hospital during the 50s and 60s. The model 18, manufactured in Leeds, was a popular choice for institutional buildings, as well as for Gaumont and Odeon cinemas throughout the UK, but only a handful are known to have survived.
Andrew Rhodes, Shropshire Homes Commercial Manager, takes up the story.
"We found the projectors whilst renovating the Grand Hall. They were in an adjoining room, with two holes in the wall so that they could project into the hall when it was being used as a cinema. We realised that we'd found something far too important to put in a skip, so we contacted the Projected Picture Trust who were delighted to hear about our find and came to collect them immediately."
The Projected Picture Trust was formed in 1978 and is dedicated to renovating and preserving projectors, professional film equipment and anything to do with the 'magic of cinema' - see www.ppttrust.org. The Trust's volunteers are now in the process of restoring the projectors, and, once the work is complete, the projectors will be exhibited around the country.
"As a local developer the sites that we develop are more than just land and buildings to us, they are our memories too," continues Andrew. "It's important that we respect and preserve as much of that heritage as possible. Many of my family, including my mother, worked at the hospital, so I have a particularly personal attachment here."
The job of bringing a new community to life at Leighton Park, the name given by Shropshire Homes to the Shelton development, is now well underway. Many of the Heritage Buildings have already been renovated, and work is just about to start on the third phase of luxury new build homes.
The Show Home at Leighton Park is open for viewing, Friday to Tuesday, 10am - 5pm. For further details call 01743 368766