AT THE age of 79 David Ryder still remembers the magic of a visit to the cinema in the dark days of the Second World War.

His love for the flicks continued during the bleak post war years and was to last throughout his adult life. Now he has recaptured that early excitement and combined it with memories from other enthusiasts and former staff to re-tell the story of Aireborough's lost cinemas.

In a labour of love which has taken more than 30 years to complete he traces the history of a trip to the pictures back to 1907 when the earliest flickering scenes were shown in Yeadon - right up to 1986 when the area's last surviving cinema finally closed its doors.

In Off to t'Flicks in Old Aireborough he recalls the heady mix of magic and make-belief that led to his lifelong love for the cinema.

"Nearly seventy years on it is difficult to convey the sense of excitement that a visit to one of our local cinemas - we had four in the borough - provided in those lean post war years, years when, for most of us central heating, fitted carpets and television were undreamed of luxuries," he said.

"For a few coppers we were allowed to escape the harsh realities of life and enter into a world of make believe where good invariably triumphed over evil."

David, who lives in Guiseley, began his project more than 30 years ago when he was still working as a technical dyer in the textile trade. At that time the scope of the challenge became too much for him and he concentrated instead on just one cinema to produce his book The Rise and Fall of the Rawdon Empire.

But he still had many taped interviews with people who had been involved with Aireborough's cinemas and he has finally put them to good use in his latest work, to preserve the fading memory of a long gone era.

In his book he say: "As the years fly past and the memories of local cinema-going begin to fade, I think it is a case of 'now or never' to place on record as full a history as it has been possible to me to gather together, of the seven 'picture palaces' which served the film fans of Aireborough between 1909 and 1986."

The volume is full of recollections that will chime with the experiences of anyone over a certain age.

"By the time the second world war ended, my cinema-going habits were well established," he said. "Every Saturday, after a hurried lunch, I could be found at about half past one, queueing with two or three hundred other kids outside the 'New-Uns' as the New Picture Palace was affectionately known."

He later added: "Both the cinemas in Yeadon were very iffy about allowing children to go in alone at night - so you used to hang about outside saying "Will you take me in Mister."

"The rule of thumb at the Rawdon pay box was that if you were big enough to get your shilling over the pay-box you were in."

Off to t'Flicks in old Aireborough costs £9.95 and is available from David at or on 07434759228.