Edward Hunt's Forest of Dean Miscellany

Fact, Fiction and Fantasy

Yankee Cinema

In the centre of the plateau is the shaft of the Wigpool Iron Mine which ceased to operate in 1918. The shaft was sunk through 300 feet of Coal Measure sandstones and 200 feet of Drybrook Sandstone before reaching pockets of iron ore in the Crease Limestone some was also found in the Lower Dolomite, and the underground workings under Wigpool Common are said to be quite extensive. There are many entrances to underground workings in a 'scowles' area between Lining Wood and Wigpool Common. The bizarre shapes of these ancient workings for iron ore may be well seen in the Devil's Chapel on the other side of the Forest at Bream. Similar 'scowles' can be seen on the eastern side of Wigpool Common where the outcrop of the Carboniferous Limestone occurs. One such 'scowle', known locally as 'The Yankee Cinema', was used during the war as an open-air cinema by American Troops stationed nearby. Little did the old miners know that their underground delvings would later provide a natural stage and auditorium for foreign soldiers.

  The above text is from:
                "Geology Explained in the Forest of Dean and the Wye"
                by William Dreghorn
                publisher: David & Charles in 1968

Christ is a Weeping, only a few yards from Nancy's Farm, is an open incline as large as a road. This was improvised as a cinema by the United States Army during the war, and Wigpool cottagers, who had never had so much as a village shop of their own, went to many a free cinema show. Wooden seats were fitted, then the before the Americans left, to the disgust of the commoners, they burnt the seats. Wigpool would not only have liked to make use of the timber, but the fire blackened and blistered the patina of the rock formation which they greatly admired.

  The above text is from:
                "The Forest of Dean"
                by Brian Waters
                publisher: Dent in 1951

Edward Hunt