201 Northam Road,
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This massive "white elephant" of a cinema was originally owned by J.G. Spinkernell who employed Robert Cromie as chief architect, with interior decorations by Mollo & Egan. The Plaza Cinema was a super cinema but located too far out of the city in the Northam eastern suburb, next to Northam Bridge and the River Itchen. It was clearly seen at night with three-colour floodlighting on its large white facade.
Built on the busy A27 road from Southampton to Portsmouth, this cinema was much bigger and luxurious than others. The main lobby could hold hundreds of guests especially during inclement weather. With wide stairs leading to the main floor and sweeping balcony. Patrons were treated to double seats in the back row, Leslie James opened the Compton 3Manual/8Ranks pipe organ with illuminated coloured lights inside of the console and varied traveler and lift curtains.
Opening day was with great fanfare on October 11th, 1932 by Mayor Fred Wooley. The Gracie Fields film "Looking on the Bright Side" was selected for openers because of her popularity at the time.
Two years after its October 11, 1932 debut, the Plaza Cinema went under the control of County Cinemas who provided a staff of three dozen to serve patrons. Then in 1937, the huge Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd, gained final ownership and it played 2nd-run to the city centre Odeon.
Saturday mornings "Mikey Mouse" film club attracted children plus live organ entertainment provided by the cinemas Chief Projectionist, Ken Batten.
With declining attendance, the Plaza Cinema gave up movies and quietly closed on 30th November 1957 with Stephen Boyd in “Seven Thunders” and Fernand Gravey in “Silent Head”.
The building was stripped of its grandeur and converted into new studios for Southern Television. These were later demolished and replaced by an office block, which has also been demolished to build housing on the site.
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