Sex, violence, showbiz
............... and a chapel in Winton!
A blonde bombshell, Britain's favourite band leader
and a world champion boxer have at least one thing in common.
They are all linked to a former Gospel Hall in Winton.
Now known as Cromwell House, the Calvin Road Gospel
Hall was a place of worship for most of the first half of the
last century. It was built by well known local builder Charles
Burt, an image of whose face appears on a house in Cardigan
Sometime around the middle of the last century it
ceased to be a chapel and moved into the possession of the Cotton
family - whose best known members were popular bandleader Billy
Cotton (of Billy Cotton Bandshow fame), his son Bill who was to
become a top BBC Television Executive and Chairman of Meridian
Television and his son Teddy who was a film producer.
From what documents that are available, it appears
that the Cottons ran a specialist film company called Cinechrome
Ltd from the old Gospel Hall. It produced a string of titles mostly
of a business, promotional and scientific nature.
The hall had considerable floor space and neighbours
told of Billy Cotton's band rehearsing there, and also of visits
from Diana Dors the classic blonde sex bomb of the 1950's and
It is believed that the actress came to record presentation
and voice work in a studio set up in the roof of the hall. The
studio was heavily sound-proofed with straw and other materials.
It still exists - although now it has been converted into a toilet!
There were probably a number of other famous people
who recorded there, but passed unnoticed by neighbours.
One who didn't go unnoticed, but wasn't there for
recording purposes was Parkstone-born World Champion boxer Freddie
Mills. He is understood to have used the hall for training - and
even got into a fight with a local man outside the Winton YMCA!
Mill's death in 1965 still remains an unsolved mystery.
He was found shot dead in his car near to the nightclub he owned
No evidence has ever been produced to clarify whether
it was suicide or a gangland killing.
The same kind of uncertainty surrounds the history
of Winton's old Gospel Hall. There are local tales, rumours, and
reported sightings - but in the end there is very little documentary
The Gospel Hall as it is today
The original 1908 plans
If you have memories of or know more about the history
of the Gospel Hall, please contact us via email@example.com.
In April 2013 another production company, called
LoveLove films, set up their headquarters in Cromwell House. Shortly
after moving in they were informed of the rich film history of
the building, and were astounded to now be functioning in premises
integral to the early media industry of Dorset.
As a company, previously operating out of the arts
university, LoveLove have had many successful projects, ranging
from music videos for major artists, such as Yes Sir Boss and
Joss Stone, to media installations for the 2012 Olympics, to film
festival screened documentary features, and much more. They have
also worked with the innovative Bournemouth-based Momo:tempo music
Now they're keen to revive the vintage trappings
of the building, and do the cinematic heritage of Winton proud.
Within days of moving in, Cromwell House's walls were once again
host to filmic forays, such as television actors recording voiceover
work, music videos being devised and feature films being scripted
- bringing the place back to its heyday of the 50s and 60s.
It's fair to say that the film industry has returned
LoveLove films website is at