ABC Bournemouth

27 Westover Road,
Bournemouth, BH1 2BZ

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ABC 1 Bournemouth

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Westover Super Cinema was built for and operated by Associated British Cinemas(ABC), and was designed by their ‘in-house’ architect William Riddle Glen. It opened on 19th June 1937 with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in "Shall We Dance".

It was located adjacent to the Westover Palace Cinema, which closed the night before the new Westover Super opened. Designed in a striking Art Deco style, seating was arranged for 1,605 in the stalls and 910 in the circle levels. The cinema was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/6Rank theatre organ which was opened by noted organist Reginald Porter-Brown. There was also a restaurant and a balcony cafe for the convenience of patrons.

On 31st May 1951, the World Premiere of the British musical film "Happy Go Lovely" starring Vera Ellen & David Niven was held at the Westover Cinema. The premiere was attended by film stars Bebe Daniels, Ben Lyon, Googie Withers and music hall artist George Robey. Also in 1951, the UK Premiere of the MGM film "Showboat" starring Howard Keel was held here. In March 1958, the Westover Cinema was re-named ABC.

On 24th September 1969, the ABC was closed for twinning, re-opening on 13th June 1970 with 644 seats in the former circle (ABC 1 which is equipped for 70mm presentations) and 982 seats in the former stalls (ABC2). The re-opening films were "Paint Your Wagon" and "All the Way Up". The cinema had been given a ‘modern’ look in both auditoriums, with curtained walls and ‘modern’ new facade over the entrance hid the original Art Deco style frontage.

The ABC 2 screen was closed in January 1973 for twinning and re-opened on 19th April 1973 with seating for 587 and 223 seats in a new ABC 3. The ABC was taken over by the Cannon Group and re-named Cannon in late-1983. In May 1992 it came under the control of MGM and was re-branded with that name.

This was not to last long and the name ABC returned to the building when a management buy-out was completed in 1996. In 2000 the ABC came under the control of Odeon Theatres Ltd. Odeon also operate the former Gaumont in the town. They closed the ABC on 4th January 2017 with a special screening of “Back to the Future”.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 34 comments)

ABCboi64
ABCboi64 on December 11, 2016 at 4:38 pm

The ABC Bournemouth is expected to close on the 4th January 2017.

ritzman
ritzman on January 3, 2017 at 10:38 pm

Last show this evening 04/01/2017 after 79 years & 6 months of film presentation – very sad!

rasLXR
rasLXR on January 4, 2017 at 12:57 am

The last ABC CINEMA of the once great UK circuit closes its doors tonight.

thomastace
thomastace on January 4, 2017 at 3:26 pm

It has closed with a performance of Back to the Future. Very sad.

popcorn_pete
popcorn_pete on January 4, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Sad day! BTTF was voted for from a shortlist and shown at 1830. The regular films shown earlier in the day were Moana, Monster Trucks and Why Him? Full story at the following link with several photographs www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4084596/Curtain-comes-era-silver-screen-entertainment-89-years-giving-joy-millions-ABC-Cinema-killed-multiplex.html.

terry
terry on January 7, 2017 at 9:41 am

World Premiere of ‘Happy Go Lovely'in 1951 :–

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/film-chiefs-in-conference/query/westover+cinema+bournemouth

terry
terry on January 9, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Article re closure:–

4084596/Curtain-comes-era-silver-screen-entertainment-89-years-giving-joy-millions-ABC-Cinema-killed-multiplex.html.

Very interesting to read the comments of the CTA’s Richard Gray when comparing the original ABC and Odeon circuits………

ABCboi64
ABCboi64 on July 31, 2017 at 12:24 am

I believe today marks the final day before the ABC Bournemouth is handed over to the developers, who have ear marked the property for demolition to facilitate the construction of flats. A proposal has been suggested to keep the facade of the Westover if enough of the Art Deco design remains behind the cladding applied by EMI in the early 1970’s. This is unlikely however as original Art Deco frontage was simplified during a previous modernisation of the cinema and the original impact of the 1937 design was greatly reduced. The cinema has, so I am informed, had many of the original fittings salvaged, including the seats, screen frames, screen tabs (ABC1), DP75 projector, ABC carpet and the giant illuminated ABC triangle sign originally fitted to the front of the building. Personally I will be very sad to see my favourite cinema reduced to rubble as I believe it would offer more to the town in the guise of a cinema than just more flats. An arts cinema in the same vein as that offered to the citizens of Brighton would be a far more imaginative use for the Westover, as the choice of films locally is still very poor despite the new multiplex that opened in February this year.

terry
terry on July 31, 2017 at 5:22 am

Very sad that a cinema of this calibre has been sacrificed for yet another soulless multiplex…….

ABCboi64
ABCboi64 on August 4, 2017 at 3:59 am

The developers have submitted plans for the demolition of the ABC cinema Bournemouth. If anyone would care to submit their thoughts to the planners on this matter the application number is 7-2017-1685L and the dead line for your submissions is 25-08-2017. Sorry I am unable to send a link to Bournemouth Borough Council’s planning website, but if someone can then that would be helpful. Thank you.

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