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. and this remains today. Odeon also operate the former Gaumont in the town.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

woody
woody on February 20, 2009 at 8:02 am

photo from 2003
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/63385941/

is this the last ABC cinema in the UK?

james2003
james2003 on April 21, 2009 at 4:07 am

The future of the ABC and the Odeon (both situated in Westover Road) is in question (and has been for several years now) since plans for a £17 million leisure complex on the former bus station site in Exeter Road looks set to go ahead. The complex will include a nine-screen multiplex cinema, which will be operated by Odeon who own both sites on Westover Road. If the multiplex goes ahead the Odeon and ABC will most certainly close down.

drguywalker
drguywalker on June 17, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Went to the ABC recently. How the mighty have fallen. It looks very tatty and down at heel. Up in Screen 1 the famous Pullman Seats had been removed (probably long worn out to be fair) but crudely replaced with regular modern seats, leaving bits of bare wooden floorboard showing. The heating wasn’t working properly, the cleaning lights appeared to be on and the curtains weren’t used. All around were the vestiges of a super seventies cinemascope theatre…relegated to little more than a flea pit. Shame really. Can’t be long before the new multiplex comes along and puts it out of its misery.

Monkeynut
Monkeynut on June 25, 2009 at 10:42 am

UPDATE! Just been to see Transformers 2 in ABC1, Superb performance. Fantastic visuals and sound. Screen curtains working, new seats and flooring. Now also digital 3D installed (Don’t know why its not at neighbouring Odeon though?). Really can’t wait for the latest 3D blockbusters now.. Well done ABC cinemas!

Cinefan
Cinefan on June 29, 2009 at 1:52 pm

A classic cinema with Digital 3D?

Well, good on the owners of this cinema. The people at Bournemouth don’t need to go that long to see 3D, all they need to do is go down to the ABC.

Monkeynut
Monkeynut on August 12, 2009 at 3:33 am

Andy,

You are enititled to an opinion. However, I think you are acting in a very immature fashion and are over-reacting to a point where you may possibly need help.

dolbypro
dolbypro on August 16, 2009 at 6:32 am

Dear Andy Summers, Please stop posting all these ignorant, uneducated comments. We’d like to keep this open to actual professionals and not strange little men with nothing better to do. Go and get yourself a girlfriend or boyfriend. Thank you, now go away!

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on August 16, 2009 at 9:31 am

The next comment posted about “creatures,” etc. earns an automatic deletion. Users are welcome to politely note problems at a specific theater, but Cinema Treasures is not and will not become a forum for personal (or professional) grievances.

Thank you for your understanding.

Ross Melnick
Cinema Treasures

Fabian_Breckels
Fabian_Breckels on June 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Bournemouth Council plans to replace this cinema and the Odeon up the road with an underground multiplex. If that happens Bournemouth will lose two West End standard cinemas, ABC 1 & Odeon 1, If you live in Bournemouth please oppose these plans.

Marcus17
Marcus17 on March 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm

A proper Cinema ! Working curtains, moving screen masking, and a massive Big Screen with Digital technology running in harmony – how cinema should be! A very theatrical experience and simply much more than what any modern multiplex can offer. It would be a good idea if the occasional 70mm film could be shown – that’s if this beautiful auditorium survives the tide of doom! In fact if cinemas like this go: could cinema itself be lost when one thinks about the technology available in the modern living room? Keep the theatre in cinema before it’s all possibly too late! Please see the Facebook campaign: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Bournemouth-Odeon/509679079071187

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