27 Westover Road,
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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”.
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