Gaumont Portsmouth

55 London Road, North End,
Portsmouth, PO2

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The Regent Cinema opened on 31st March 1923 with Jackie Coogan in "Oliver Twist". It was built for and operated by the independent Palace Picture House(Portsmouth) Ltd. The London based architect S. Clough designed a splendid cinema which according to reports at the time had ‘new ideas in decoration’. The auditorium was in an Atmospheric style with a sky blue ceiling that contained twinkling stars, and there was the option for the technician to enable sun-rays (houselights up) or moonlight (houselights down) to shine across it. The proscenium was in a setting to appear as if it were standing in a clearance at the lower end of a slope and there were columns around the side-walls which had a hedge between each of them to represent being in a Grecian Mediterranean garden. There was a fine Regent orchestra to accompany the films.

From 8th October 1929 it was taken over by the Hyams & Gale circuit and they installed a Christie 2Manual/8Ranks theatre organ which was opened by Ernest Hall. From 10th February 1931 the Regent Cinema was taken over by the Gaumont British Theatres/Associated Provincial Picture Houses(APPH) circuit.

From 9th March 1953 it was re-named Gaumont and continued until closure by the Rank Organisation on 1st September 1973. It was demolished in April 1974 and a Safeway’s supermarket was built on the site. A sad end to one of Portsmouth’s most luxurious cinemas.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on December 4, 2007 at 5:37 pm

For a vintage photo of the auditorium facing the stage, scroll down to page 17. Perhaps the curtain depicts a rising sun in tune with the atmospheric design described above? Thanks to Ken Roe for adding this theater to this website today,
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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 11, 2007 at 6:44 am

Three vintage photographs of the Regent Cinema/Gaumont Theatre:
The Regent Cinema playing the Gaumont release in October 1949:
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A close-up of the entrance on the same day:
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As the Gaumont, playing the Rank release in May 1971:
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