Regent Cinema

1 Park Street,
Southampton, SO16 4RH

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Located in the district of Shirley, the 1913 Cinema Hall gave way to the new Regent Cinema in December 1913. This building is thought to be a conversion with an added projection booth. Some 500 seats were arranged in a space measuring about fifty-five feet by thirty-seven feet was owned by W.P. Christmas who operated screenings at very competitive prices. Invited children from the Seamen’s Orphanage were always guests of the manager.

The old Regent Cinema was closed to be enlarged and upgraded, and the "new super cinema" opened on August 1st, 1932. A double bill offered "The Dove" with Dolores del Rio while Edna May Oliver starred in "Ladies of the Jury." Movie-goers could wait outside under a canopy with entrances on Park Street or Shirley High Street. When WW2 ended the ownership went to George Wright’s control which offered shows for children on Saturday mornings as well as live music from popular violinist Gil Hume.

After a good run, Wright decided to close down the Regent Cinema in September 1961 with Disney’s "Absent Minded Professor." This facility eventually resurfaced as a Sainsbury’s Supermarket, but recently this was re-located and the entrance and auditorium on Park Street has been converted into a Wilkinson’s hardware store. The front entrance on Shirley High Street remains in situ, with the name ‘Regent’ in the stonework. This part of the building is now in use as a sun-tanning parlour.

Contributed by Simon Overton
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