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Films were being presented at the Mowlem before the 1990’s.There was I think a partnership between the projectionist whose name escapes me and ‘Rusty’ Irons who operated the nearby Rex Cinema in Wareham.They owned the machines which were Kalee 12’s with Kalee ‘Universal’ arc lamps, later replaced with Kalee 19’s and ‘President’ arcs. This was certainly all happening in the 1980’s when I worked as a projectionist at the Rex and accompanied ‘Rusty’ to the Mowlem in order to change a sticking arc motor.
Apart from some initial over enthusism namely the removal of the auditorium side wall fancy plaster work, Bournemouth Community Church have done a really nice job of restoring this old building both inside and out and it’s all been done to a very high standard.Nice to see the original cinema seats have been retained in the circle.
At closure the projection equipment was an eclectic mixture of old and new. Two Westar projectors each operating on an ancient W.E.Universal base. Surprisingly they were one of the first cinemas to install BTH’s new at the time xenon lamp houses which initially gave endless trouble, particularly their reluctance to strike the lamp. Possibly they were over engineered since all the troubles were remedied when a BTH engineer attended and proceeded to cut and remove large quantities of wiring and components from both lamp houses. After a short trial he bidded adieu to the projection staff,with the words ‘Should be all right now’.
The Coronation Picture Palace opened on June 27th 1911 in the Bournemouth suburb of Springbourne and actually had a very big catchement area as it was surrounded by residential properties not least, the upmarket area of Queens Park.
The name was changed to Roxy in 1936 and it was not taken over by Harry Mears until 1940. In 1944 it was being operated by West’s Pictures whose town centre cinema had been destroyed by enemy action.Unfortunately the Roxy took a hit on the 24th April of that year and remained derelict until 1950 when wartime building restrictions were lifted.It reopened on March 9th. 1950 with the Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby film ‘Blue Skys’ plus Charlie Ruggles in ‘Night Work’.
One custom which carried on down the years allowed pensioners to see a show at certain times on presentation of their pension book.
The cinema lasted until 25th August 1963 when the final programme consisted of ‘Blind Date’, the Joseph Losey thriller starring Stanley Baker and Hardy Kruger.
Changing to bingo gave the building a new lease of life until 1994.During this time the interior was surprisingly unaltered the balcony retaining its cinema seats and the projection ports very much in evidence.The Westar projectors, installed in 1950,had been removed to the Continental cinema in nearby Winton.
Unfortunate alterations to both the interior and exterior of the building took place during its conversion into a photographic laboratory, this included a large access doorway with roller shutters at the screen end of the building.
This cinema should also come under Bournemouth……. Westbourne is just a suburb like Winton, Moordown or Boscombe.
I think this cinema should be reallocated under Bournemouth….. Boscombe is just a suburb and the Astoria and Classic are further out east of the town centre then the Carlton.
Try post code BH52JB for correct street scene
The stalls area is split into two.Screen 2 occupies the rear part, with a much reduced bingo operation in the front.Access to the bingo area is down the side of Screen 2.
I don’t think the seats at the Moderne were originally covered in leopard skin pattern moquette. Photos taken at the opening, show this not to be the case although the carpet throughout the building was of a leopard skin pattern. I have recently removed the maroon vinyl covering from one of the original seats and restored it. They were dark green with silver side castings.